The Walking Dead fans are a sturdy bunch. The real fans that is. The ones that have stuck with the show through thick and thin. Through show runners coming and going, pointless cliff-hangers killing tension, and changes from the source material that have made readers of the comic cringe.
But we’ve stuck with it. Despite dropping ratings, particularly during the now infamous mid-series filler episodes, The Walking Dead is still racking up huge viewing figures. And series 8 might just be the moment when some of those Walking Dead fans that have dropped out of watching the show have to re-evaluate their decision.
Why? Well for one, this is ‘All Out War’. It’s no spoiler to anyone that watched series 7 to say that Rick and the Alexandrians, Maggie and the Hilltoppers, and King Ezekiel and the Kingdommers (how’s that for funky band names?) are on the brink of bringing war to Negan and the Saviors.
For those who complain that The Walking Dead is too slow-paced and drags its feet like its shuffling zombies, series 8 is most likely going to be a real change of gears. Even the comic picked up pace for the ‘All Out War’ arc. As the conflict with Negan and the Saviors escalates, the comic started to be released twice a month instead of its regular release schedule. That means there is a hell of a lot of action to fit in before this war is over.
Negan has been a divisive figure both among fans of the comics and the show. While some people love the foul mouth and swagger of the villain, and the way Jeffrey Dean Morgan has brought him to life on screen, others have always called Negan one-dimensional, one-note, and lacking in substance.
So the producers of the show might have listened to some of these criticisms and instead of drawing the war with the Saviors over two seasons or a season and a half (as they did with The Governor), perhaps the ‘All Out War’ arc will all be wrapped up in series 8. That’s going to mean an action-packed, emotional and eventful 16 episodes, especially as they will be doing as they always do, and dealing with extra characters that are not in the comics (hello Jadis and the Scavenger junkyard crew).
The clearest indication that the war with the Saviors will be resolved in this series is the glimpse of Rick waking up with a longer grey beard and a cane by his side that ended the Comic-Con trailer released in July. Without giving away any spoilers for those that haven’t read the comics, these final images suggest we will likely see this war come to an end in series 8.
So whether you love or loathe Negan, make the most of him, as he is definitely going to be responsible for one of the most explosive and brutal series of events that have ever appeared in The Walking Dead. In the words of Negan himself: ‘I hope you got your shitting pants on’.
The Walking Dead returns to screens on 22nd October 2017.
Are you excited for series 8? Or can you not wait to see the back of Negan?