‘The Walking Dead’: What We Know About the Second Half of Season 7

The seventh season premiere of The Walking Dead was, without question, one of the most unforgettable episodes in the series’ history. Controversial, polarizing, and explosively violent, it set the tone for what would turn out to be a relatively uneven first half for AMC‘s most popular show. With the series due to return in February, The Walking Dead‘s creators have always been pretty tight-lipped as far as what we can expect to see in the future. But we have been lucky enough to pick up a few hints about what the second half of Season 7 will be like. [Update, 2/3/17: Added trailer for Season 7 mid-season premiere, above.]

Negan won’t die

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) holds Lucille in a scene from 'The Walking Dead's sixth season

The Walking Dead‘s Negan | AMC

Without question, Negan has been the dominant force so far in Season 7. Though he’s only appeared in a handful of episodes, his ruthlessness has cast a decidedly different tone over the entire series. So it shouldn’t be a surprise to know that we can expect to see quite a bit more of him throughout the rest of the season.

AMC recently announced that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays the brutal leader of the Saviors, will be returning to The Walking Dead in Season 8. So anyone who was hoping that the new big bad would bite the dust sometime soon should adjust their expectations accordingly. We don’t know how much longer Negan will hold dominion over Daryl, Rick, Hilltop, and the rest of them — but we do know that just about everyone that’s played a major role this season is looking to take him down.

Another foe could be on the horizon

Zombies walk through the fog in a scene from 'The Walking Dead'

The Walking Dead | AMC

It’s getting crowded on The Walking Dead these days. With groups stationed at Alexandria, Hilltop, the Kingdom, the Sanctuary, and now even Oceanside, there are a lot of people to keep track of. From the looks of things, though, we’re going to meet at least one more group before Season 7 is over. And they’ll certainly shake things up for everyone.

The Whisperers are yet another group of survivors from Robert Kirkman’s comics, led by the cold and calculating Alpha and her right hand man Beta. From their protective gear (zombie skin!) to their penchant for decapitating their enemies, they’ve developed some gruesome and unorthodox methods for staying alive in the zombie apocalypse. We don’t have a firm date on when we can expect the Whisperers to show up. But the promotional material for Season 7 has indicated that it’s all but a sure bet we’ll meet them pretty soon.

It’s going to have a much different vibe

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) lays on the top of an RV in a scene from Season 7 of 'The Walking Dead'

The Walking Dead‘s Rick Grimes | AMC

If you’ve been feeling like The Walking Dead‘s seventh season is depressing, you’re not alone. Many fans have complained that the series has become too much of a downer, and that could be part of the reason why the series has seen its ratings take a pretty big dive. But not to fear — the series’ showrunner, Scott Gimple, has promised that the second half of Season 7 will have a “very different” vibe. In an interview with ComicBook.com, he indicated that the first part of the season will end on a different note than it began with. While it’s too soon to know exactly what he means by that, it’s safe to assume that Rick, Maggie, Ezekiel, and the rest of the characters will eventually start to fight back against Negan’s oppressive regime. And that action alone could inject the series with some much-needed energy.

A war is coming

The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson) in Episode 9 | Photo by Gene Page/AMC

Thanks to an official synopsis and some new images released by AMC, we now have a better idea of what to expect in the second half of season 7. One of the newly released images can be seen above; the rest can be viewed here. Here’s the synopsis:

The first half of Season 7 saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group broken by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), forced to fall under his will and brutally convinced to live under his rules. The second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering the supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all.

Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose – to defeat Negan – it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.
We’ll meet new survivors in incredible places. We’ll see Rick and the group tested in ways we’ve never seen before. We’ll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army.

A new female survivor will show up

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) looks at another survivor in AMC's The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) looks at another survivor in AMC’s The Walking Dead | Gene Page/AMC via EW

As stated in the synopsis, our favorite band of zombie apocalypse survivors will “meet new survivors in incredible places” when Season 7 resumes. AMC may have teased one of those new survivors in an image exclusively obtained by EW. As seen above, the image appears to show a female from behind who is speaking with Rick. It’s unknown who this character is at this point, but it could be a member of Oceanside, the all-female community that Tara encountered in the first half of Season 7.  Stay tuned for more details as they emerge!

The Walking Dead will return in February 12, 2017.

Additional reporting by Nathanael Arnold

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox

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