The Walking Dead is finally approaching a storyline known to fans of the comic books as "All Out War." It's been a long time coming; the entirety of season seven has been dedicated to setting up the battle between Negan's Saviors and Rick's scrappy army. We're more than ready to see the bloodshed . . . but what comes after? The Saviors are some of the biggest, baddest villains the series has ever seen, so how will season eight (and beyond) be able to top them? We can't know for sure what the future holds, but we can read ahead in the books to see what happens once — spoiler alert! — Rick defeats Negan.
"All Out War" is a huge deal. It takes up two whole volumes in the book series — that's 12 issues. The next volume is titled "A New Beginning," and it jumps ahead to two years after the war. Rick's people have completely rebuilt Alexandria, and Negan is living in the basement of one of the houses, still being held prisoner by Rick. Negan and Carl have forged an unusual friendship, but Carl still maintains that he hates Negan. Carl leaves Alexandria and heads to the Hilltop (where Maggie is the leader) to become a blacksmith's apprentice.
A new enemy emerges: The Whisperers. They're a savage people who wear the carcasses of zombies as a method of survival. Jesus manages to capture Lydia, a 16-year-old member of the group who eventually strikes up a friendship with Carl. Lydia takes Carl's virginity and licks his empty eye socket in a comic panel that will never cease to disgust me.
The leader of the Whisperers, Alpha, shows up at the Hilltop to collect Lydia (her daughter), and Carl goes with them. Days later, when Rick finally finds him, Carl refuses to go with him, telling his dad that he wants to stay and protect Lydia. Lydia breaks down about how she's been raped and Alpha is so offended by her weakness that she tells Lydia to go with Rick. When they return to camp, they see that the Whisperers have secretly beheaded several people, leaving their heads on spikes in Alexandria. Rosita and Ezekiel are among the dead.
Meanwhile, Gregory (still sh*tty) tries to poison Maggie. Jesus witnesses it, and they end up hanging Gregory in a tree.
And that's the next major storyline! Again, we have no idea if the show will follow the books, but given how closely they've stuck to the blueprint in the comics, it's very likely.