If you're among the fans and critics that were thoroughly disappointed with the first half of The Walking Dead's seventh season, there's some potentially good news: The second half of season seven could be different.
Speaking with Comicbook.com, showrunner Scott Gimple said that the second half of season seven — he refers to it as "7B" to contrast against "7A," the first half — will be "very different from 7A's vibe."
"It's just a very, very different half season than the half season that preceded it," he added. "There's a lot more variety to the structure. It's just a very, very different situation."
Considering the show has had a steep decline in its previously stellar ratings after the season seven premiere, it's probably the best news fans could hear in the aftermath. Considering how closely season seven has mirrored The Walking Dead comics, here's what that might mean for the show.
Editor's note: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead comic books. Here's a photo of Negan in the meantime.
The show has put all the pieces in place to imitate the comic's "All Out War" storyline, which pits all the main communities (Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom) against Negan and the Saviors. At its core, this means that Rick and other members of the group will no longer be demeaned and emasculated by Negan and his lackeys: They're going to step up and fight.
That was one of the big issues with the first half of season seven. After a while, even with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan's sinister charisma, it was exhausting to watch Negan go through the motions of taunting Rick and co. without facing a proper adversary. Even in the comics, after Negan's first forage for supplies at Alexandria, it's revealed that Rick is secretly conspiring against him. They didn't do that on the show, waiting until the midseason finale — with Spencer and his guts — to reach the same point.
The "different ending" that Gimple is promising is likely what happens at the end of "All Out War." Negan is eventually defeated after a brutal showdown, and instead of killing him for his sadistic transgressions, Rick spares Negan and locks him away in a cell at Alexandria. That is, ostensibly, a stark contrast to what we've seen so far in season seven: Instead of Negan flinging around his baseball bat, killing and taunting the show's protagonists, he'll be confined to a prison cell.
While we'd like to see The Walking Dead take some chances and stray away from the comics, that's one part of season seven we'd be surprised to see changed, for a very simple reason. Morgan has already confirmed that he's returning to the show in season eight. So either Negan and the Saviors are still going to be a threat, or he's going to survive — just like in the comics — to monologue about rules another day. Still, after Negan's monotonous, misogynistic run that's essentially ruined the show, we'll be glad to see him and the Saviors bested.
The Walking Dead season seven returns Feb. 12 on AMC.
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