Since the plot of The Walking Dead frequently diverges from the comics upon which it's based, and the end of season 3 in particular took a significant detour, nothing can be taken for granted as fans steel themselves for the arrival of season 4 and the renewed danger that all our favorite characters will be placed in.
The full-length trailer for The Walking Dead season 4 that debuted at Comic-Con gave a definite sense that the survivors' safety at the prison compound is going to be threatened, and perhaps even removed entirely, in the next season. There were scenes of a walker attack inside the prison walls, evidence of someone deliberately feeding the walkers to attract them to the fences, and Hershel mentions that fourteen people have died in one fell swoop (though he didn't specify whether they were Woodbury refugees or members of the main cast). All in all, things aren't looking too promising for Rick Grimes and Co.
A new 15-second teaser for season 4 of The Walking Dead uses one of Hershel's ominous lines from the full-length trailer: "Everything we've been working so hard to keep out just found its way in." It's natural to assume that he's talking directly about the walkers, since the show's producers have promised plenty more undead action on the way, but The Walking Dead has consistently shown that living people in desperate situations can be just as dangerous, if not more so, than the walkers.
The obvious assumption is that the Governor has returned and is deliberately causing trouble for the group in an effort to get revenge, but actor Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, hinted in a featurette that the big danger in season 4 won't be walkers or other living humans, but something new entirely, and writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman added that this new threat "could be more deadly than the other two combined." We're not saying it's aliens, but...
Many fans were expecting the survivors' time at the prison to be over by the end of The Walking Dead season 3. Now that they've driven off the immediate threat and begun to put down roots, do you think that they could still be there by season 5, or will the events of season 4 leave them scattered to the four winds? Tell us in the comments what you're hoping (or dreading) will happen next as the series continues.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 13th.