The Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero has revealed the opening shot of season 8 and claims that the scene sets the overall tone for the remainder of the season. Viewers may remember that season 7 of The Walking Dead concluded with all out war being declared between the Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom alliance and Negan's Saviors (who seemingly have The Junkyard Community on their side).
Despite the emergence of long-awaited villain Negan, The Walking Dead season 7 attracted a decidedly mixed reception from viewers. Specifically, criticism was leveled at characterization, repeated plot elements and an over-reliance on shock value to elicit emotional response. The character of Negan also attracted significantly less acclaim than his comic book counterpart and a selection of commentators felt that the villain was mishandled by the show's writers.
However, it appears that The Walking Dead may be going back to its roots in season eight by returning focus to its lead protagonist. Executive producer Greg Nicotero has revealed (via TV Guide) exactly what the new season's opening shot will be and how this will dictate the focus of the new run of episodes. Nicotero states:
"We start Episode 8.01 on a close-up of Rick Grimes and we really get a sense that he's driving our story, not Negan."
Kicking off a season premiere with a close-up shot of your main character may not initially sound like a significant revelation - but when considered alongside The Walking Dead season 8 trailer's footage, more exciting possibilities are raised. The trailer in question included a scene that showed a visibly older Rick waking up in bed, seemingly at peace in a light and airy room. Although the internet would have you believe the leader of Alexandria woke up in Rivendell surrounded by Hobbits, many who are familiar with The Walking Dead's comic series would suggest that the scene depicts the post-All Out War time skip and there's a strong chance that it is this shot Nicotero is referring to. This could mean that The Walking Dead season eight opens after the dust has settled on the war against Negan and the conflict itself is told via flashback.
If this is indeed the case, it would be a very brave move on The Walking Dead's part, as they would essentially be ruling out the (admittedly already slim) possibility of Rick dying in season eight. It would also seem to somewhat imply Alexandria's victory in the conflict - and although many viewers would naturally assume the good guys win out in the end, knowing so for certain does somewhat lessen the tension as the drama plays out on screen.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres October 22nd on AMC.
Source: TV Guide