[Warning: The following contains spoilers for season 4 of The Walking Dead.]
When writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore first teamed up over a decade ago to create The Walking Dead, their intent was to answer a little-explored question: What happens after the ending of every zombie movie? How will the movie's heroes/survivors continue living in a world conquered by undeath? And just how long can humanity cling to the vestiges of civilization?
A decade later, The Walking Dead is not only a comic book series with over 120 issues to its name, but it's also one of the most popular television shows on the planet. Heading toward season 5, AMC's adaptation of The Walking Dead is still a ratings powerhouse with a devoted fan following. As such, it makes sense for the series to begin drumming up interest in new episodes even many months before its yet-to-be-announced premiere date.
To that end, AMC has released the first still image from the production of season 5 of The Walking Dead. You can check out the full image below:
Featuring a look at series lead Andrew Lincoln as conflicted survivor Rick Grimes, the picture doesn't tell us much about the creative direction of the upcoming episodes. However, Rick's condition does suggest that season 5 will pick up immediately after the close of season 4, with Rick and company imprisoned by the unsavory sorts at Terminus.
While the photo seems to be little more than a reminder that season 5 is in production, that doesn't mean we can't get our speculation on. The television series has deviated considerably from The Walking Dead comics in its details, but has (generally) maintained the source material's overall structure. As such, it would make sense if the events at Terminus are a loose adaptation of the comics' "Fear the Hunters" story arc.
During that storyline, Rick and company are waylaid in their journey to Washington by a group of stealthy assailants who turn out to be cannibals. Though the Terminus setting would flesh this idea out into a potentially larger plotline, the presence of a bloody bones, entrails, and ever-present barbecue does seem to indicate that long pork is on the menu at the train terminal.
If season 5 of The Walking Dead is indeed adapting "Fear the Hunters," it does raise the question as to how long the show will linger on the plotline. The comics arc is relatively short – clocking in at about six issues. So unless the television series transforms the tale of cannibalism and brutal revenge into something much more complicated, it's likely that Terminus will only appear in the opening episodes of the season.
In any event, this first image is largely proof that season 5's production is well on its way toward completion. Does the prospect of Rick Grimes fighting mad cannibals sound enticing, Screen Rant readers? Share your own speculation about the upcoming season in the comments.
The Walking Dead will return from its uneasy grave to AMC in the Fall of 2014.
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