What The Walking Dead Cast and Producers Have Revealed About Season 7
We've got a fever, and the only known antidote is fresh episodes of The Walking Dead. Unfortunately, we have to wait until October for those, so for now we have to settle for hints that the actors and producers have given us. Because we don't know who dies in the finale (or do we?), most of the actors have been very tight-lipped about what to expect on season seven, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan (aka Negan), Andrew Lincoln (Rick, who we basically know doesn't die), and Norman Reedus have been giving some very telling interviews. We already rounded up everything they've said about Negan's upcoming story arc, but here's what you need to know about what's up with the new season in general — apart from all the details we already have.
In a recent interview with Ross Marquand (who plays Aaron), the actor told POPSUGAR that fans are in for an emotional rollercoaster. "Everyone is expecting it to be devastating, and it is," he revealed about the premiere. "It's a rough, rough exit, you know? That being said, I think it's a great episode, too. I think it's an episode that people will watch and talk about for years to come, honestly." He also let slip that in addition to The Kingdom and the Saviors coming more into play, "there are other groups" that the main characters will be meeting up with, that will "change them immeasurably."
"There's a lot of great story ahead of us," Nicotero teased to The Hollywood Reporter. He also explained why you shouldn't be so upset with Negan, because he's just following his own code. "Those are their rules of survival — just like Rick has his rules. That's a fascinating dynamic to explore, and I know we're going to get deep into that." He also says that "without a doubt, the flag has been thrown. Negan and the Saviors are a formidable force, and I don't believe our group can wiggle out of this confrontation. If you read the comics, you get a good sense of how these different worlds all have to deal with Negan's group and their plan."
While most of the actors supposedly had no information about who Negan kills in the finale, Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly that he did let Jeffrey Dean Morgan in on some secrets. "Most of the direction that I gave him was in regards to aspects of season seven and which relationships Negan is going to have in season seven and with which characters," he said. "I wanted to make sure that were certain themes that he hit strongly."
Additionally he disclosed a key character trait about Negan: "Negan is that kind of guy," he said of the long speech Negan delivers before killing someone with his bat. "He's the kind of guy who imagines himself on stage at a high school production and he loves every second of it. So, I don't really see a lot of quiet contemplative moments with Negan. I feel like with Negan it's really going to be about him gesticulating and him sort of relishing in the sound of his own voice while he commands the stage in front of whoever's alive."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Morgan at least has an idea of how the new season will start: "I know when season seven kicks off it's going to kick off directly from where we left it; that's about all I know as a fact at this point," he told Entertainment Weekly. "I know kind of where we're going and I've got a stack of the Walking Dead comics right next to my bed here. I think we're going to stick pretty close to what you see in the graphic novel with this character because he's so iconic in this world. His storyline is going to stay true [to that]. From what I understand talking to Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman, we're going to keep it pretty close."
Producer Gimple has by far given the most hints about what to expect from season seven. "I hope with [episode] 701 people see that it justifies the way we've decided to tell the story," he told The Hollywood Reporter, defending the controversial cliffhanger. "I know what 701 is and I feel that it delivers on what 616 sets up." He also confirmed that we will see stories from Negan's perspective, and that the theme of the season will be "How do you begin again?" Gimple elaborated on that in a statement read by Chris Hardwick on Talking Dead:
"You know the beginning, and it's almost here, so enjoy your summer because the beginning is someone's end. But it is a beginning. What happens in episode one will shatter the lives of those who survive and will rend the narrative into different trajectories in which we will see our characters in completely new situations, torn from the pages of the comic and remixed in the Walking Dead remixinator 5000. We'll see an all new different worlds with new friends, enemies, and other, with alignments ranging from lawful good to chaotic evil and all the neutrals in between and we'll see unthinkable dangers from the damnedest of places, yes there will be blood but there will also be cobbler, we kid you not. There's going to be a hard goodbye at the beginning, but you know that, and it's almost here. As Simon says, be good to each other."
Those who read the comics also know Negan has a strangely close relationship with Carl, but will that translate onto the small screen? "Oh, yes. 1,000 times yes," Gimple told EW of their friendship. "It may be very, very brief, but we will absolutely see them have a pretty intense moment. There will be a bit of remixing. There may be another character involved that takes some of it . . . That relationship will be absolutely shown, whether it's with Carl or not, I cannot say. But I absolutely want to explore Negan having that strange respect for someone, which I think was the hallmark of that relationship, and tell versions of that story."
Meanwhile, Lincoln told The Hollywood Reporter that he's excited about "the bigger world" the group is entering. "This is going to be such a traumatic episode [when the show returns for season seven] that I'm really excited to see where this pushes [Rick] next," he said. "It does seem like the world is growing. I may have to return to the comics and look through those pages if we do get to the Kingdom next season!"
While the cast wasn't present for the shot when Negan goes to town on his victim, they did individually record sound for the scene, When asked if she would need to re-shoot the scene, Cohan said, "Maybe. It’s just without knowing exactly what the timeline is going to be. It’s still an unresolved thing. I mean, obviously our showrunners know what’s going to happen, but I think they like to make it easier for us to not have to. For once."
Reedus recently said some very exciting things about the season seven premiere in an interview with TVLine: "I will definitely 100-percent say that it's well worth the wait. It's large. It's mind-blowing. It's a completely brand-new world right now. It's very exciting. And it's emotional. And then it's overwhelming and emotional!"
During our interview with Michael Cudlitz, he gave us just the tiniest quote about the new season. When talking about how Abe narrowly escapes death (Denise's death-by-arrow actually happens to Abe in the comics), he said: "Now we get to see what a world with Negan and Abraham both in it will be like. That's something we don't see in the graphic novels. So a lot of cool stuff happens."