[WARNING - This article contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead television series and comics.]
Today at San Diego Comic-Con, the trailer for The Walking Dead season 7 was shown during the series' Hall H panel. That trailer has now made its way online, containing painfully little information about just whom it was Negan killed, but including a handful of teases for new faces and locales expected to appear in season 7.
Below we'll break down The Walking Dead season 7 Comic-Con trailer, highlighting characters and moments that appear to come straight from the comic, but be warned - there will be spoilers. This analysis of the trailer will at times contain specific spoilers from the comic book series, and those spoilers could potentially hold true for the TV series as well. Read on at your own risk!
"Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe..."
For almost the first minute and a half of the trailer what we see is a fancily edited montage of each of Negan's potential victims: Glenn, Carl, Daryl, Maggie, Sasha, Michonne, Abraham, Rosita, Eugene, Aaron, and Rick. Included are a variety of flashbacks, each highlighting who it is these characters hold dear and how much they've risked over the years to keep each other safe. That trip down memory line, accompanied by a voiceover from Negan, is then followed by a close-up shot of Lucille, before ending on a quick montage of those same shots of each potential victim staring down the barrel of the bat that we saw in the season 6 finale.
Does this opening sequence feature any new information? No. Does it offer even the tiniest hint as to who it is Negan kills? No. But it's there to remind us this death (or deaths?) will be the catalyst for season 7. After this moment, everything changes. In the comics this scene was monumental, and it did, in fact, alter the landscape of The Walking Dead in more ways than simply losing a beloved character. If this moment on the television series can bring a similar feeling of shock and hopelessness to the scene, fans angry over season 6's cheap cliffhanger may find it was worth the wait.
Morgan On His Way to The Kingdom
After that opening tease, The Walking Dead trailer takes us to Morgan walking behind a group of riders making their way to The Kingdom. If you look closely, you'll notice Carol is seated on the back of one of those horses. When we left off last season, Morgan and Carol were separate from everyone else and out in the world. After a run in with one of the Saviors, Carol is badly injured, and she and Morgan agree to follow another mysterious survivor they've met back to his home - The Kingdom - so Carol can receive medical treatment. We know The Kingdom is appearing this season, but now we've confirmed it'll be through Morgan and Carol that we'll learn of the new settlement.
Dwight, The Saviors, & The Sanctuary
From there the trailer moves on to The Sanctuary - this is where Negan and The Saviors hold up when they aren't out oppressing and pillaging the surrounding areas for supplies. The first shot is of residents - who appear numbered, a hint at the rigid class system Negan employs - either clearing out or installing as a defense some walkers. Then we see Dwight, a lieutenant of Negan's we met last season, surveying the area from of above. He's featured a few times throughout the trailer and will certainly have a significant role going forward. The Sanctuary is a repurposed factory, meaning a rather bleak abode for those unfortunate enough to live there, and there are a couple more shots of the locale later in the trailer. However, it is quite functional and defendable, which has made it a formidable base of operations.
Kneel Before Negan
Guess what? Negan is in charge, and if you have forgotten, this trailer makes it a point to remind you. Here we have his loyal Saviors literally bending the knee as he strolls by - that's some serious devotion, but also a bit a play-acting at feudalism, which season 7 will likely touch on thematically. Negan also has a code, which both he and Dwight reference in voiceover narration. And though it seems likely this scene is from The Sanctuary, it could also come from another settlement where Negan would also demand such respect, and he and The Saviors will be paying a visit to other settlements this season.
"There's Always More"
This is Sherry, a resident of The Sanctuary who accompanied Dwight last season. In the comics, we meet her along with a number of other women, all of whom make up Negan's harem. She is also Dwight's wife. However, Sherry only took up Negan's offer of joining his harem because she believed it would lead to an easier life for her and her husband - this is a society with a positively medieval hierarchy, after all. But it definitely doesn't work out that way for them, eventually leading to Dwight earning that sick burn on the side of his face. Whether the TV series will follow the exact same narrative isn't clear, but they hardly ever adapt anything exactly as it happens on the page. As for this scene in question, it's likely a close-up shot of a later scene of Sherry and Dwight in a stairwell - also likely from The Sanctuary and possibly even a flashback.
Beginning with this shot - which features Spencer, Deanna's son, questioning someone (probably Rick) for not making a deal with Negan sooner - The Walking Dead trailer has a montage of quick cuts, a few of which foreshadow developments comic book readers should be more than familiar with. This snippet of Spencer foreshadows a likely encounter, as does Negan chatting with Olivia and sipping lemonade. There are also scenes of Kingdom residents fighting The Saviors and Hilltop residents (Jesus especially) fighting walkers which are flooding into the settlement. Again, comic book readers should catch what most of these scenes suggest, but we'll refrain from outright spoiling every part of what's looking to be a pretty exciting season.
Carol Recovers at The Kingdom
It's already been revealed that Carol is joining Morgan at The Kingdom, where she'll be recovering from her injuries. But as we see in that montage of scenes, she may also be under the influence of some heavy painkillers because, in this scene in particular, Carol sounds deranged and looks absolutely goofy. Then again, Carol is also known to be quite a deceptive character, often using her appearance as a weak and helpless housewife to her deadly advantage. It's hard to say, really, as Carol is a character which the television show has made to be very different from her comic book counterpart.
A Look Inside The Sanctuary
Another shot worth pointing out from that montage is this quick peak inside The Sanctuary. Again, nothing too revealing here but it's evident how little has changed from when the building was a factory before the apocalypse, to how functions now.
"Little Pig, little pig, let me in..."
This is the final shot of that particular montage and it's one comic book readers should delight in seeing. What we have here is Negan arriving for the first time at Alexandria for his cut of their provisions. It's how the system works under Negan's rule, and since beating one of their own to death with a baseball bat, Rick has been unusually subservient to Negan. Then again, anyone who knows Rick knows he's cooking up a plan. But we can still enjoy what should be a good number of scenes in where Negan gets to mockingly lord over the residents of Alexandria.
Welcome to The Kingdom
After being referenced several times already throughout the trailer, we see The Kingdom in all its glory. And actually, it doesn't look exactly like the settlement does in the comics, where it's built up around a high school; here appearing more like what we've already seen at The Hilltop. Looking closely at the buildings, this could be a college campus, which is even better than a high school, so who cares? Note, Morgan pushing Carol around in a wheelchair, bottom middle. And Carol could very well be convalescing for a good chunk of season 7 seeing as she did endure a stabbing and gunshots.
King Ezekiel & Shiva
There can be no Kingdom without a King, and their's is Ezekiel - seen here with his tiger, Shiva, marking this scene as both figuratively and literally the trailer's money shot. Ezekiel is an exciting character for the TV series to introduce and he's certain to shake up the dynamic of the show. He's a little eccentric (uh, pet tiger?), but wise and a good leader for his people. It'll also be interesting to see the kind of interaction he'll have with both Morgan and Carol seeing as they are characters who don't travel to The Kingdom or meet Ezekiel in the comics.
Frankly, this Comic-Con trailer would have been stronger had it ended on that epic shot of Ezekiel and Shiva. Instead, what we end on is a sequence of shots implying we'll likely have an episode or two that focuses solely on Tara and Heath - both last seen heading out on a supply run. This isn't entirely out of the ordinary, either, as more recent season of The Walking Dead have featured these "bottle" episodes before. Presumably, both Tara and Heath are completely unaware of all that's transpired since they left, with the scenes shown likely depicting what transpired while they are out on the road.
Admittedly, this speculation is a bit of stretch. But is it me, or do these zombies appear a little too whole to be zombies? They only appear briefly in these scenes of Tara and Heath, initially hiding in the sand before springing out and attacking. That behavior, coupled with the look of them, has me wondering is these guys could be The Whisperers - living people who disguise themselves as zombies, wearing skin suits made from the dead. The Whisperers don't appear for some time after Negan is introduced, but hey, the TV show can do things differently than the comics if it likes, right?
What else did you spot in The Walking Dead season 7 Comic-Con trailer? Let us hear from you in the comments!
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on October 23rd, 2016.