TV fans everywhere had their hearts simultaneously broken as the outcome of Negan’s season six finale at-bat was finally revealed. Fans felt the one-two punch of tragedy in a way we hadn’t experienced since we saw Sophia exit the Greene’s barn during season two. The Walking Dead has made us cry, cheer—hell, it even bores us on occasion with entire episodes devoted to characters walking in the woods. But we can’t stop watching. That’s okay though, because they’re not going to stop making The Walking Dead, or zombie shows in general, any time soon. In the meantime, we hope Carl getting a haircut is in the cards this season. Chandler Riggs looks like he might be trying to score a shampoo endorsement deal.
After the season seven premiere, most of us were horrified by the first death, and devastated by what came next. The internets tell us of countless fans who called into school and work citing “a death in the family.” It sure felt like it. Season seven has a long way to go, and there are still lots of things comic book readers and show fans have been waiting for. If you’re not caught up, best to skip this list until you are—spoilers abound!
Here are 15 Things We Want To See In Season 7 Of The Walking Dead.
15 Chris Hardwick happy again
Technically this is more about Talking Dead than the real zombie show, but one obviously directly impacts the other, so we're counting it. The Nerdist has been part of our southern zombie experience for some time now, and many have grown attached to his cigarette leg jeans and uber-excited demeanor. Some fans suspect that Hardwick isn’t allowed to say anything negative about the show—evidenced by his lack of irritation with last season’s finale. Still, Hardwick provides solid commentary, and asks the questions fans want answered. That’s why it’s hard to see him so super sad over character deaths. After all, it’s not like this is the first time we’ve had to deal with Glenn dying.
It’s our hope that the events of season seven include enough moments of joy, legitimately hopeful turns of events, and an eventual toppling of the Saviors and their bat-wielding leader. There are myriad reasons why seeing Negan die would be emotionally fulfilling—not the least of which is that it would make Chris Hardwick smile again.
14 A twisted new Rick
We’ve known Rick Grimes for years now, and it’s safe to say that we’re attached. Despite outrageous fan theories about why he’d be the one to bite the dust in the season premeire, Rick lived through the Neganpocalypse to fulfill the promise the CDC doctor made years ago. Our survivors were glad to be alive then, but the day did indeed come when they wouldn’t be. In the season seven premiere, Rick narrowly avoids making Carl lose yet another body part. One thing is clear—Rick is no longer the master of his domain. He is not the ruler of all he surveys.
We’re all reasonably sure that Rick has not completely succumbed to Negan and become one of the Saviors. Yet it’s obvious that he’s gonna have to fake it, for a little while at least. This new Rick will likely be dedicated to Carl, Judith, Maggie, and getting Daryl back in one piece. Seeing Rick as subservient to a psychopath, even pretending, is sure to bring fans frustration in the coming season. We fear to watch, but seriously, we cannot look away.
13 Small-scale retribution
Simon is Negan’s right-hand man. That’s reason enough for him to die. How does one become lieutenant to a guy like Negan in the first place? By being awesome at brutality, threats, and terrorizing people who are already on the brink of death more often than not. We know that Simon murdered a 16-year-old boy to make a point about sharing, and that he’s threatened or tried to kill about half of our heroes in the main survivor group. As far as we know, Simon has no redeeming qualities—we say, kill him quick and be done with it.
Dwight is slightly more sympathetic. He and his family tried to escape the Savior’s compound and were punished harshly when they were caught. Even when D and his wife stole Daryl’s bike and crossbow, we could kind of see where he was coming from. But then, he went back to Negan and resumed terrorizing and killing people. So, screw him and the stolen bike he rode in on. Dwight and Simon can both hang.
12 A New Eugene
Right about now, Eugene has to be feeling tremendous guilt over the death of his friend, Abraham. One could argue that it was Eugene Porter and his lie about being a brilliant doctor with a mullet that put Abraham in harm’s way in the first place. But you know, one could also argue that Abraham would have killed himself after the events of his flashback story, had Eugene not stepped in and given him purpose. The person responsible for the death of Abraham Ford was, of course, Negan. But that won’t keep Eugene from feeling tremendous guilt over the whole thing. We saw him openly weeping during Abraham’s date with Lucille.
The question is, how will this impact Eugene moving forward? He’s declared himself to be developing as a survivor. Will he stay that way, or regress into the helpless tagalong he was when we met him? Might he rise to the occasion and be instrumental in whatever happens as the group rebels against the Saviors? Maybe he’ll go to Hilltop Medical school and cure the zombie virus after all! Or not. Anything could happen with Eugene this season, and we're excited to watch the cards play out.
11 Maggie/Daryl scene
Fans of The Walking Dead were sharply divided on which character was actually at fault for Glenn Rhee’s death. The obvious answer is Negan, the guy who kept hitting Glenn in the head with a barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat. As clear-cut as that seems, there are those who think the bulk of the blame falls on Daryl. Some fans assert that our favorite Dixon brother “made” Negan kill Glenn when Daryl punched Negan in the face after TV's newest big bad explicitly warned the group against such outbursts. But Negan isn’t a natural disaster. He’s not an unstoppable force like a hurricane or tornado. Negan made a choice to murder someone we all loved—and he doesn’t deserve to have the blame split with a guy who did something every last one of us wanted to do at that moment.
Even with that in mind, Daryl will be feeling plenty guilty. Maggie is bound to have mixed feelings about everything that’s happened. So we hope going forward, that Maggie and Daryl get a scene where they can be alone together to cry, apologize, mourn, and forgive.
10 More from Jesus
That’s right, the peaceful bearded longhair who makes friends wherever he goes—that’s Jesus. Jesus has the same job at the Hilltop Colony that Aaron had at Alexandria: he recruits. To hear him tell it, he makes people’s worlds a whole lot bigger. That may sound good, but remember that Rick Grimes had no idea who Negan was when he encountered Jesus for the first time. This suggests that if you live among The Walking Dead, meeting Jesus won’t necessarily improve your situation.
When we met Jesus, he was lying about everything and stealing a supply truck from Rick and Daryl. Then he broke into Rick’s house and almost got killed by Michonne. These aren't actions that you'd expect to see from a good guy, but make no mistake, Jesus is one. He’s also a badass fighter, but like Morgan, prefers to resolve conflicts through more peaceful means. We’re stoked to see how he develops as a character this year, and who in Rick's group he ends up bonding with.
9 Hilltop Colony’s Response
We’ll recall from season six that it was the Hilltop Colony that sent Rick and his group after Negan in the first place. They’ve got to be feeling a little guilty about that now (though not too guilty, since the Saviors killed a fair share of their people as well). What the Hilltop residents are probably feeling is terror, that Negan will ultimately hold them responsible for the killing of his people. It seems like somebody will be showing up there demanding supplies soon, and Negan feels like the type of guy that would hold a grudge.
So, what will they do? It’s possible that the Saviors would burn the Hilltop’s crops and murder their animals. That would be a shortsighted plan, but it's not out of the question. Negan’s main objective seems to be short-term gains over long term planning. The Hilltop folks don’t look ready for a brawl, but if the residents of Alexandria have taught us anything, it’s that you might be surprised what can happen when regular people decide to stand and fight.
8 Alexandria’s Response
Speaking of standing and fighting, who didn’t cheer when almost every Alexandrian got their butts outside and fought off the walkers overrunning their settlement? That was some large-scale badassery. The community has lost some people since then, but they’re not exactly down for the count. It’s entirely possible that the remaining survivors will join the ranks of the Hilltop Colony and…anyone else we meet this season. Negan is a dictator. The reason dictators are as ruthless as they are is to keep everyone scared. But like Emperor Ming before him, Negan is bound to inspire others to join forces against him.
Who will return to Alexandria after the events at the Sanctuary? Who’s gonna bring back the news of what happened and why? That meeting promises to have a huge impact on Alexandria’s response to Negan. We know they’re light on citizens, but last we looked, they were doing pretty well on guns and ammo. Who knows, the remaining Wolves might even join forces against Negan--the ones who aren’t on Gotham now, anyway.
7 The Kingdom
We've heard very little about The Kingdom thus far, but that's all about to change. Morgan and Carol have met one member of Ezekiel’s camp, but they don’t have any details yet. Comic book fans though, know all about The Kingdom. We don’t want to spoil any show fans with big reveals, even though the show has been known to deviate in the past. So let’s look at what aren’t big spoilers. The Kingdom is a very large settlement, probably the largest we’ve seen so far. It’s in a big building that used to be a school. A high school, if you think about it, is a great place to house people in any sort of long-term emergency situation.
Filled with war-centric clothes and horses, The Kingdom is rather antiquated, with a style that reminds some fans of Planet of the Apes. King Ezekiel is a benevolent leader, and may even attract a girlfriend from the current survivor group. The King, being a nice guy, probably won’t come down on the side of Negan and the so-called Saviors. In fact, he could just prove to be the driving force behind their downfall.
6 Maggie’s Baby
We’ve already had a birth on The Walking Dead that turned tragic and inspired one of the best internet memes since sarcastic Willy Wonka. We are long overdue for some happiness and hope for the future. The birth of Maggie and Glenn’s child is exactly the thing to give our favorite characters a renewed sense of purpose. It’s also going to be incredibly sad. No kid deserves to lose a parent before they’ve even taken a breath on their own. But whether we get a little Glenn Jr, or a Glenda Rhee (or a Beth, maybe?), that kid is going to be fiercely loved and protected by everyone who loved Glenn as much as we did.
But wait…Maggie has experienced more stress in the last eight months than most mothers do through their kid’s entire childhood. That’s not good. Maggie was already having complications before her husband and a close friend were murdered in front of her by a psychopath she’s now at the mercy of. We have no guarantee that the baby will be okay, or that Maggie ever will be again. But we’re hoping.
5 Sasha/Rosita Friendship
It can be difficult to gauge who has suffered the most on The Walking Dead. Rick Grimes has certainly lost much, including a wife and a best friend. Maggie lost her entire family, then her husband. Carl had to shoot his own mother, and Carol lost her child and had to watch her die again as a zombie. There’s plenty of misery to go around. But we think it would be wonderful if Sasha and Rosita—two women who loved Abraham—could emerge from this whole thing as friends.
Sasha's boyfriend Bob was bitten, then cannibalized, then killed in his sleep by her brother, who in turn was lost during his moment of carelessness while exploring Noah's house. She was already losing it when all this started. Now she's lost Abraham, the first good thing that's happened to her since Tyrese died.
Rosita, meanwhile, was the recipient of one of the worst dumping lines in the history of breakups. We’re not sure even Abraham realized how terrible what he said was—which essentially translated to, ‘I was settling for you, until I realized I didn’t have to’. Both of these women deserve some happiness this season. Really, any level of happiness for them would suffice.
4 Daryl’s Escape & Renewed Motivation
Daryl has always been a wild card, or a deus ex machina, depending on who you ask. He does have a habit of showing up in the nick of time to save the day. But then, that could be said for much of the cast of The Walking Dead. Fans had a big reaction to Daryl being carted off in a truck under threat of losing limbs. Compared to the comic, most of the cast has remained more intact than their on-the-page counterparts. Still, nobody thinks Daryl will take any of this lying down, evidenced by him (foolishly) leaping up and socking Negan in the face.
What happens with Daryl’s captivity will have big reverberations for the action and for the rest of the cast. Will it be another heroic, predictable, Dixon-style day-saving? Or will something terrible finally happen to this fan-favorite? If Daryl does have to die, we hope it’s not until he’s seen holding Maggie’s baby. The dude just has a way with the little ones.
3 King Ezekiel and Shiva
We’ve talked about The Kingdom a bit already, and how it’s an enormous settlement with a robust and growing population. The main building used to be a high school, which is why it’s still got an American flag flying proudly above it. More exciting and interesting than this new colony, however, is its leader: King Ezekiel. Fans of The Walking Dead have learned by now that self-proclaimed leaders are rarely all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, most of them are downright ruthless. You can’t blame Rick and the gang for not welcoming this new group with open arms, even though kind-hearted Morgan will probably trust them early on.
Ezekiel promises to be a fascinating character. Better still—he’s got a friggin’ tiger! Her name is Shiva, and even if you’re not a fan of Animal Planet, having a tiger on the show is bound to be amazing, even if it is largely CGI like most of the other cool effects on the show. From what we've seen so far from Ezekiel and Shiva, however, the gamble taken by TWD's creative team looks to have paid off in a major way.
2 Morgan and Carol return…with a vengeance
One of the first things we see in the debut episode of The Walking Dead was Morgan Jones swooping in to save a delirious and oblivious Rick. When the group was trapped at Terminus and destined to be eaten as surely as Robin Lord Taylor was, Carol set off the bombs that gave them a fighting chance. One thing AMC fans have gotten used to is heroes swooping in at the last second to help a friend in an otherwise impossible situation. We rely on it, and we’d swear that some of the characters do too. Why else would people like Sasha, Ron, or Enid routinely wander off alone?
Last season, we learned that Morgan doesn’t kill people unless he has to. Carol, meanwhile, decided that loving people is no longer an option for her, as the world is such that loving someone means eventually having to kill to protect them. Morgan and Carol were far away when everyone else was getting captured. That’s why it’s going to be so amazing when Carol and Morgan come charging back to have an instrumental role in the defeat of Negan. There will be a defeat of Negan, right? Right?!
1 Violent death for Negan
Comic book fans already know what happens to Negan in the end. We’ll ask that no one mention that in the comments just to keep show-only fans in suspense (even though the show will likely put a spin on things at the very least). Putting all that aside, Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a fantastic villain. We hate him so damn much. He deserves it. He’s horrible. If he’s half as horrible as he was in the comic—which let’s face it, The Governor was a pale imitation of his comic counterpart—we’re going to want to smash his head in the dirt by the end of season seven.
Most people think they’re above desiring the wanton murder of someone they don’t like. We have morals, standards, empathy, humanity. But after seeing what we all witnessed in the season seven premiere, most fans would be onboard with the idea of Negan being subjected to the same sort of horrors he dished out to Rick's group at some point this season. But considering the fact that his comic storyline is just getting started, we wouldn't get our hopes up on this one. Negan's likely in it for the long haul, folks, so buckle up.
What are you hoping to see this season? Tell us all about it in the comments.