The long, agonizing wait it almost over. The Walking Dead returns soon with its season 7 premiere, finally answering the one question on every viewers' mind: Who did Negan kill? But after that heart-wrenching reveal, there is still a whole season of The Walking Dead to come. Season 7 will be bloody and brutal, but it will also be a season where these characters aren't just fighting to survive -- they'll be waging war.
Groups or factions of people have appeared across every season of The Walking Dead, but at this point most survivors have stopped roaming and begun settling down. These settlements have grown into full-fledged colonies, like The Hilltop and Alexandria. Yet, the more they grow, the more they catch the attention of other settlements and factions, like Negan and his Saviors and the mysterious Kingdom and its ruler, Ezekiel.
To better understand this brave new world and those living in it, check out The Walking Dead Season 7 Faction Guide below:
The Survivors at Alexandria
Notable members: Michonne, Carl, Daryl, Aaron, Abraham, Sasha, Maggie, Glenn, Tara, Heath, Eugene, Rosita, Spencer, Gabriel, Morgan, Carol
A residential community that was designed for sustainability, Alexandria has its own solar grid, cisterns, and sewage filtration system, making it an ideal location to withstand the hardships of the apocalypse. And when Rick and his survivors first arrived at Alexandria, the easy life of its residents caused tension. Rick’s group had been on the road, barely scraping by; while the residents of Alexandria lived a relatively peaceful existence, safe behind their walls and well supplied.
Very quickly, though, (and after a few deaths) both the residents and survivors realized they needed each other if they ever hoped to make Alexandria a stable safe-zone. Having already outlasted both a walker invasion and an attack from The Wolves, those now living in Alexandria are determined to defend their home by any means necessary. Alexandria is armed and fortified, but they are currently hurting for other valuable supplies, like food and medicine.
While out on a supply run, Rick and Daryl crossed paths with Jesus from The Hilltop, a neighboring colony, and after learning The Hilltop was being threatened by another faction -- The Saviors -- Alexandria and The Hilltop formed an alliance. In return for half of The Hilltop’s supplies, Rick and his survivors agreed to eliminate The Saviors.
Notable members: Jesus, Harlan Carson
The Hilltop Colony exists on the land surrounding the Barrington House, a rural mansion, blacksmith shop and barn, which was later turned into a museum. Set high upon a hill, Barrington House provides a good vantage point with which to survey the surrounding area, and its fertile land is perfect for farming. After the safe-zone was abandoned by FEMA, those remaining erected a wall and continued developing their colony.
Not long after The Hilltop established itself and began harvesting its plentiful crop, The Saviors arrived, demanding half of everything The Hilltop grew in return for protection. Gregory, the chosen leader for The Hilltop, agreed to the deal, but still The Saviors killed a boy from The Hilltop to prove they weren’t to be disobeyed or ignored.
Continually handing over half of their supplies to The Saviors forced The Hilltop to seek out more food than they were capable of growing themselves. And it was on one of these supply runs that Jesus crossed paths with Rick and Daryl. After observing the residents of Alexandria, Jesus felt a meeting between the two colonies would be beneficial, and upon learning of The Hilltop’s circumstances (and killing Gregory’s almost-assassin in front of the whole town), a new deal was made. Alexandria would eliminate The Saviors, and in return The Hilltop would give them half of their supplies.
Notable members: Dwight
At first, The Saviors appear to be like the many other antagonistic groups Rick and Co. have tangled with in the past, but they have something that even the Governor’s men didn’t have: discipline. The Saviors are utterly devoted to their leader, Negan, a ruthless but rational man, and they would do anything he asked of them -- no matter how dangerous, no matter how unsavory. (Though he leaves the real nasty business, like bludgeoning someone's brains, for his best gal, Lucille.)
Negan, however, abides by a code, and though he has no issue with extreme violence -- using it to both intimidate and punish -- he holds himself and his followers to a higher standard. Negan believes it is the duty of the strong to protect the weak, and he abhors acts that he considers a betrayal of this code, like rape.
The Savior’s home base is a re-purposed factory they refer to as The Sanctuary. Not only is the structure itself substantial, it is surrounded by a chain link fence as well as barricade of captured walkers. Anyone wishing to overtake The Sanctuary needs to not only deal with the wall of walkers, but also The Saviors firing on them from the factory’s windows and high balconies.
Notable Members: Shiva
The Kingdom is the second largest settlement after The Hilltop, and it’s built upon a school and its surrounding campus. Little is known about exactly how The Kingdom operates, but as implied by its name, the settlement is overseen by a single ruler -- the self-proclaimed King Ezekiel.
The Kingdom is walled and barricaded just like the other settlements, using school buses for added structural support. They have enough land to farm their own food as well able keep horses, giving them a real advantage when traveling. Residents of The Kingdom take on a variety of jobs, including defense and scouting for supplies, and those who venture outside its walls wear protective armor (not so unlike the riot gear from The Prison). Though Alexandria has yet to make contact with The Kingdom, the colony does already have trading relations with The Hilltop.
Yet, what makes The Kingdom most unique is its eccentric leader, Ezekiel, made all the more eccentric by his companion, a tiger named Shiva. Formerly a zookeeper, Ezekiel saved Shiva when she was injured, and even though she lashed out at him, he went out of is way to keep the tiger alive. Now Shiva is extremely loyal to Ezekiel, and rarely is the one seen without the other. And when considering the many ways one can protect themselves from walkers and more, a tiger is a pretty solid method.
Notable members: Anyone dead
And last but certainly not least -- The Walkers. Though those who've survived this long are very capable of killing walkers, there are still a very real threat to anyone left alive. Walkers are easy enough to kill, but in massive numbers, like a herd, they are almost unstoppable. Being dead, The Walkers don't hold any particular allegiance, but whichever faction finds a way to use The Walkers against their enemies will certainly have an advantage.
The Walking Dead season 7 premieres Sunday, October 23 at 9PM on AMC.