The Walking Dead season 8 premiere also marks the series' 100th episode, something the producers are keenly aware of. The critically-acclaimed drama premiered on AMC in 2010 and quickly became one of the most-watched dramas out there, in addition to already being the highest-rated series on cable television. Over the years, though, the show has gone through its ups and downs, sometimes facing uproar from longtime fans. Although promises of change are made before the start of every season, it seems that an all-out war is exactly what the series needs to get back on track.
The series' season 7 finale teased the comic books' All-Out War story arc, with Rick Grimes and the people of Alexandria teaming up with the Hilltop and the Kingdom against Negan and his band of Saviors. After spending the vast majority of last season under Negan's thumb, Rick and his newfound allies will be taking the fight to the Saviors throughout season 8. And although some audiences may have given up on the show by this point - for various reasons - the show's producers want to make sure those who've stuck around since the beginning are appreciated.
Ahead of The Walking Dead season 8 premiere this weekend, executive producer and special effects/makeup maven Greg Nicotero explained to Variety that the 100th episode is a special thank-you letter to longtime fans.
“There are probably two or three sequences in the first episode that I was particularly excited about doing that people will instantly recognize. It’s sort of a thank-you letter for people who have been with us all along and nodding to little things here and there. Some of them might be a little more obvious, and some of them might be super subtle.”
It's common for shows, especially comic book shows, to feature callbacks to older episodes, and the nature of The Walking Dead doesn't always allow for those callbacks and homages to exist, so it's something that longtime fans may appreciate when the series' 100th episode debuts this weekend. While Nicotero says there are approximately three sequences that people may instantly recognize, the series' social media accounts have already teased one so far, showing Carl siphoning gasoline at a location eerily similar to the opening scene from the series premiere, which had Rick also searching for gasoline.
At this point, it's anyone's guess what the other two sequences may be, but The Walking Dead highly-anticipated season 8 premiere and 100th episode is just around the corner, so audiences don't have to wait too long to find out.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres Sunday, October 22 on AMC.