The Walking Dead‘s highly anticipated sixth season premiere is fast approaching and viewers are finally getting more details about what to expect. From new backstories to a lot more zombies to the possible introduction of a huge villain, it looks TWD fans are in for quite the ride this time around. Here’s a look at everything we know (and don’t know) so far about Season 6.
1. Expect “multiple threats”
The first half of the season will largely revolve around the conflict spurred by those unhappy with the fact that Rick and his friends have moved into Alexandria and brought such violence with them. “There was a huge upheaval in Alexandria at the end of [Season 5]. What position of leadership does it put Rick into, how he handles new responsibilities and what he does with them is a big part of what we are exploring,” The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman described earlier this summer.
At some point, Rick, his group, and the Alexandrians will also likely face off with the Wolves, the vicious villains that were officially introduced in last season’s finale. But fans shouldn’t expect them to be the main source of danger. “There are multiple threats, even in the first half of the season. And sort of different versions of threats we’ve seen before,” showrunner Scott Gimple explained to EW, also promising that the first three episodes of the season are “quite intense.”
2. The new characters
There will be plenty of new faces in the upcoming season. Here’s what we know about them.
Ethan Embry joined the cast as Carter, an Alexandrian who is unhappy with the violence spurred by Rick and company. As Gimple told EW.com, “Ethan plays a combo of a few characters that we actually haven’t hit yet or weren’t able to hit in other characters. He is an Alexandrian, and has been there the whole time, just quite busy.”
Straight Outta Compton star Corey Hawkins will join the series as fan favorite comic character Heath, a supply runner with courage to spare who’s paired up with Glenn.
Nurse Jackie‘s Merritt Wever will play Denise, another significant character from the comic series. She is an Alexandria doctor who is also Heath’s girlfriend. In the comics, she performs a surgery that ends up saving the life of one major character, although it’s not clear if the show will include that storyline.
3. Morgan is back
Also adding to the conflict? Morgan Jones, played by Lennie James, returned at the end of Season 5, just in time to find Rick standing over a dead body. With Morgan now decidedly more Zen and Rick pretty much the opposite of that, the two won’t exactly see eye-to-eye. “I can say that where Rick is and where Morgan is, they will find common grounds,” James told Yahoo!. “But they will also be in conflict. That’s about as much as I can say.”
4. There will be more zombies than ever
As revealed at Comic-Con earlier this year, the Season 6 premiere will feature over 650 walkers that breach Alexandria’s gates, following the events of the Season 5 finale. “I think we have already exceeded the total number of walkers [for] all of last year just in the first three episodes of season six,” Greg Nicotero, who directed the Season 6 premiere and will also direct the midseason premiere and the season final, told AMC.com.
Fans should expect them to be more graphic than ever. As Nicotero said, “We have really taken the walkers in this season to a whole different level. There are walkers who have been partially skinned, who have been partially devoured by wild animals. … It continues to allow us the opportunity for more fantastic creations.”
5. Timing will play an important factor
As James, who plays Morgan on the show, recently told Yahoo!, the first episode of Season 6 starts off almost exactly on last shot of the Season 5 finale. After that, things get a little more complicated. ” Then we kind of… we’re slightly playing with time and the storytelling, which is fantastic,” James said. “In the end, the audience will know what happened and what is happening when we rejoin the season. It’s so massive, but we get there in a slightly nonlinear way.”
Flashbacks will also play a big part and will reportedly compromise most of one episode around the midseason break.
6. Season 6 will fill in some of the backstory for the comic books
While the show is based on Robert Kirkman’s comics, part of this season will actually precede the original series. “It’s earlier in Alexandria, but not the beginning of Alexandria,” Gimple told EW. “It’s more character-based than the background of the place. There are some stories filled in with regards to the comic that we haven’t even gotten to yet — sort of prequeling some comic stories that are coming up, which I’m very excited about.”
7. Negan might finally show up
Negan is one of the most notorious Walking Dead villains and his arrival has long since been widely anticipated. With the show now further along in the timeline, some are hoping he’ll finally make an appearance in Season 6. Gimble, or his part, hasn’t confirmed or denied anything. “It’s absolutely a possibility,” he told EW. “We have a plan in place, but there’s a couple variables for that plan that we’re deciding about. It really depends on a few factors as we move into setting up the last bit of the season, storywise.”
The Walking Dead‘s sixth season premieres Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. on AMC.