While we have barely stopped singing "Eye of the Tiger" after #TheWalkingDead's Season 7 finale, don't rest on your laurels just yet. The finale placed the pieces on the board for #RobertKirkman's "All Out War Part 2" chapter of his #comicbook epic, so don't expect it to be lemonade on the porch of Alexandria just yet. We may have to wait until October to see grimey Rick Grimes on our screens again, but #AndrewLincoln has teased that the show will soon be picking up its baseball bat once more.
War, What Is It Good For?
Fans of Kirkman's #zombie apocalypse will know that Season 7's "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" puts us at about Issue #120 of the comics, still some six issues from the end of the Savior/Safe Zone war. While I won't ruin how that particular story pans out, expect there to be a few more casualties along the way, but also that #AMC's show won't stick too closely to the source material. While you shouldn't expect a rogue Ezekiel to kill Shiva, wear her as a pelt, then take over as the show's ultimate bad, showrunner #ScottGimple does like to throw some surprises at us.
While the end of the war is in sight somewhere on the horizon, let's look at what's to come when the show returns. Speaking after the finale, Lincoln revealed exactly how Season 8 will start and it sounds like someone is beating the war drums:
"I mean I think that - I don't think we're that literal, but I think that there's a very strong chance that we're going to pick up where we left off. I don't think that that's breaking news."
Bear in mind that when we return for Season 8, the premiere will mark the show's 100th episode. In comic book terms, Issue #100 saw Glenn Rhee get his noggin bashed in, so surely the show will have to do something spectacular to top that?
Given that the finale was so action-packed, would we really pick up the tale with another huge brawl so early on? One thing is for sure though, #JeffreyDeanMorgan's Negan will presumably be planning something big when the show returns.
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Celebrating A Century
With such a huge milestone so close, Lincoln himself teased that we could expect fireworks and blood spraying in the first part of Season 8:
"I know, you know, that we are going to have to come and bring one of the greatest episodes we've ever attempted, and we're going to start the season with it. And, it will be the hundredth episode, which is one of the greatest."
"It's a huge milestone and, you know, it will be a big deal because there's a lot of the crew and a few of the cast left that have trudged all of those hard and sweaty and bloody miles together. So, it's a huge achievement and I know I'm sure, Scott Gimple, four years ago, had it planned that we would be starting a full-scale war on the hundredth episode. I like to think he's that much of a boy scout: always prepared."
Looking back at how many of the original cast are still remaining, it is shocking how far we have come and who we have lost. Some deaths were felt more than others (Glenn), while some were a breathe of fresh air to proceedings (Lori, Andrea, Beth). It is refreshing to see that even 100 episodes later, the show isn't afraid to swing its casting scythe hard.
Blood, Sweat, And Cheers
It is some clever math that brings us neatly to Episode 100 when the new season starts, and you can only imagine what Gimple has been planning since he took over from Glen Mazzara in 2013. As for Season 8, Lincoln hyped it up as one of the best yet (but doesn't he always?):
"I'm more excited about this season and this is not - I'm not blowing smoke - than anybody. This is so real. I am ready to go. I can't wait. It's going to be insane this season."
After Sasha's big sacrifice, which cast member is next to have their name etched on the chopping block? Things certainly aren't looking good for the likes of Eugene and Dwight, who find themselves on either side of Negan and Lucille. As we gather our limbs and shuffle toward Season 8, one thing is for sure, the Alexandria Safe Zone certainly isn't the safest place to be right now!
Find out more when The Walking Dead returns later this year.
Check out our fitting tribute to Sasha, and don't forget the poll below!
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[Poll Image Credit: AMC]