The Walking Dead’s Season 7 premiere is only a little more than a week away, and as a fan of The Walking Dead TV series and comic books, it’s been an agonizing summer thanks to the brutal cliffhanger at the end of Season 6. While making one of the most iconic moments from the Walking Dead comic’s decade-long run into a cheap “What will happen next? Stay tuned ’till next time!” cliffhanger ending, it does leave Season 7’s premiere in the great position of possibly being one of the most brutally dark and emotionally devastating episodes of the show’s run, with the potential to top the tragic Season 4 mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone.” I want to put down some predictions about what will possibly happen in this next episode, based both on the path of the show so far, as well as the Walking Dead comic books. Spoiler warning ahead.
Yes, Glenn Will Die
A much debated topic is whether the show will stay true to the events of the comic. In it, Negan’s game of eeny-meeny-miny-moe lands on Glenn, who he then proceeds to beat to death with his treasured baseball bat, Lucille. However, the show has definitely not been afraid to switch up events from the comics, most particularly the death scenes. If we look back, most of the major death scenes that have been adapted from the comics have been changed up significantly. While Tyreese was decapitated by the Governor in the comics, it was Hershel who met that fate in the show, and while Dale was bitten by a walker and then got his leg eaten by cannibals, it’s Bob who gets this fate instead in the TV series.
However, Glenn’s death is an entirely different beast. His death does not merely serve for shock value-it essentially propels the plot forward for the entire All Out War arc. Like with the show, in the comics, Glenn was known as a dependable and selfless character, consistently putting himself in harm’s way for the good of the group. His loss not only left a gaping hole in the Alexandrian hierarchy, it created a schism in the relationship between Rick and Maggie, the latter of which decides to leave Alexandria to live in the Hilltop Colony, and later rises to become a leader on the same level as Rick.
Maggie’s character progression from a devastated widow to the undisputed leader of a community of survivors is one of the best storylines in the comic books, and I don’t doubt that they will want to adapt it in the show. However, in order for this character arc to happen at all, one requisite must be met: Glenn must die. So I’m saying with a fair amount of confidence that, even if it doesn’t play out as we expect it, Glenn won’t make it out of this episode alive.
Negan Will Not Let Rick Off Easy
In the comics, Rick doesn’t have to try particularly hard to piss Negan off before their fateful confrontation. In this version of the story, Rick’s group confidently kills three of Negan’s men in an effort to stop them from terrorizing the Hilltop, after which Negan kills Glenn to teach the Alexandrians that he’s not fucking around. But if you remember the second half of Season 6, the Alexandrians essentially declare all out war with the Saviors from the very beginning. Over the course of several skirmishes, Ricks group kills over 30 Saviors, completely annihilating all of the men in one of their outposts.
Taking this into consideration, killing a single person seems like way too small of a punishment for Rick’s crimes. So what will Negan do? I’m not sure. The latest sneak peek seems to tease one of the other most iconic moment from the comics: when Rick gets his right hand chopped off. But having your lead character maimed in such a way could simply complicate things in the show, and may be more trouble than it’s worth. I personally hope the showrunners are brave enough to do it, but chances are low.
Instead, the most likely scenario is that Negan either kills more than a single person, or that he takes hostages. Rick’s biggest weakness is his beloved son, Carl. In the comics, Carl ends up with Negan, albeit out of his own volition, so could they be putting a twist on that storyline by having Negan take Carl as a hostage? Perhaps. Or maybe Negan will simply have mercy on Rick’s group, being that they are currently transporting a sick Maggie. After all, in the comics, Negan is shown repeatedly as having great respect for women, so perhaps he’ll let them continue to the Hilltop so they can save her.
Everybody’s Going to Hate Rick
Whatever happens to the recipient of Lucille’s wrath, it’s pretty clear that Rick is going to be in hot water with his own group. After all, it was his idea to attack the Saviors, greatly overestimating the collective power of his group. I’ve already mentioned how his relationship with Maggie is affected, but if he concedes defeat, nobody in Alexandria is going to be happy. Negan requires that communities give up half of their resources to the Saviors, and it was established last season that Alexandria is already low on supplies. This will be a big cause of conflict in Alexandria, and many will blame Rick’s leadership.
This is particularly difficult, especially after having just earned the Alexandrians’ trust during the devastating events that happened midway through Season 6. It’s going to take a lot for Rick to rebuild trust within his own group, and I’m going to go on a limb and say the car ride to the Hilltop Colony is going to be pretty awkward for him.
Whatever happens, it’s pretty apparent that Season 7 is going to be one of the darkest seasons yet, adapting some of the bloodiest pages of the comics to our TV screens. At the same time, it also contains some of the most awesomely surreal material in characters such as Negan and Ezekiel. This is the point in the Walking Dead’s story where it explodes in scope, encompassing several communities and storylines, and I’m very excited to see it unfold on screen.