'The Walking Dead' season 7: 4 questions we have following the season premiere
For better or worse, the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead was entirely focused on who Negan killed with his beloved barbed wire-covered baseball bat, Lucille, and the emotional aftermath for Rick and the crew.
(Editor's note: Spoilers for The Walking Dead season seven premiere ahead.)
Unlike the comics, which provided one gruesome death, we're given two: Abraham and Glenn, the latter of which died at the hands of Negan in the comics. But whether or not AMC had the right approach with holding off the deaths with a six-month hiatus between the seasons, the show moves forward with Negan and the Saviors in full control of the post-apocalyptic world.
Looking ahead, here are four questions we have in the new season following Negan's bloody introduction.
How will the deaths affect the characters? We saw the immediate reaction to Glenn and Abraham's deaths — it was especially heartbreaking for Glenn's pregnant wife, Maggie — but it's unclear how this will affect the characters long-term as we move forward.
Rick, for instance, has seemingly lost his bravado after Negan toyed with him and almost forced him to cut off Carl's arm. He sobbed uncontrollably, and looks anything but ready to lead a rebellion against Negan, which seems inevitable for the group. But it may be up to another character to rally the crew in Rick's place.
All signs point to that character being Maggie, as she had the most defiant reaction to Negan's introduction after witnessing her husband's gory death. In the comics, Maggie eventually becomes the leader of the already introduced Hilltop Colony. The show could follow a similar path for her character arc, which could also bring a fitting turn for Negan's near-certain comeuppance.
What's going to happen to Daryl? What's less clear is Daryl's fate, a non-comic book character and fan favorite who was taken prisoner by Negan for punching him in the face after Abraham's death. Negan explains to Rick that he's going to use Daryl as leverage — if Rick and the group don't fall in line, he'll either torture or kill Daryl until he gets what he wants.
The show will have to follow Daryl's narrative in some form. Imagine how upset viewers — particularly those who said they'd riot if Daryl was killed — would be if we don't get to see him for half a season. So the showrunners might use his perspective to subsequently trace scenes with Negan and the Saviors outside of Alexandria.
Then there's the guilt Daryl certainly harbors for what happened to Glenn. It was Daryl's outburst that caused Negan to dole out another brutal beating, and many Daryl-crazed fans were more than a touch upset with the character's fit of rage leading to Glenn's death.
How will the rest of Alexandria react? It's easy to forget that there are more than a few characters who haven't witnessed Negan's wrath in person. Essentially, from the perspective of someone who stayed in Alexandria throughout the encounter — such as Father Gabriel — the group set off to Hilltop, only to return with two fewer members (Glenn and Abraham) and the proclamation that Negan is now the overarching leader.
They don't have the same traumatic experience with the show's new villain, and may thus be less inclined to fall in line at Rick's behest. But if this causes a rift within the group, it might not be Rick's responsibility to take care of dissenters; Negan could just call Lucille to action once again.
When are we going to see a tiger? The first trailer for season seven offered the a glimpse at a new post-apocalyptic community: the Kingdom, and its leader King Ezekiel. But more importantly, the Kingdom also features Ezekiel's pet: a tiger named Shiva.
The trailer — as well as an early sneak peek at the second episode of season seven — shows Morgan and Carol on the grounds of the community, which should be an allied outpost for Rick and the group if it follows the same trajectory as the comics. The Kingdom will likely have a part to play in the inevitable rebellion to Negan's reign, but in the meantime, it appears we'll soon be treated to the CGI'd Shiva in action — perhaps as early as next Sunday.