Warning: Comic spoilers for The Walking Dead ahead. Proceed with caution!
With The Walking Dead premiere less than a week away AMC are pumping out the promotion images, and one of the most recent ones has got the internet buzzing that another set of villains may be about to be introduced to the series.
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Despite only just meeting Negan and his Saviors, a promo image of a severed head on a pike has got comic fans wondering if this TV series might be about to bring a group known as The Whisperers into the show.
The Whisperers are a group of survivors introduced in Issue 130 of the comic series. The Whisperers methods and attitudes are brutal, and they protect their territory by marking boundary lines with heads of their enemies on pikes - much like in the promo image.
Of course, with the TV series only currently part was through the events of Issue 100 of the comic, it seems much to early to even be dreaming of introducing The Whisperers, so what else could the decapitated head be associated with? My guess is the unique system of protection that Negan and his Saviors have constructed at their compound.
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While we've already seen a couple of the Saviors hide outs in Episode 12 and 13 of Season 6, it was more than likely that they were both outposts for the Saviors and we're yet to see Negan's actual home base.
In the comic series, the location of Negan's base is initially a mystery, until it's revealed that he lives in a huge abandoned factory called The Sanctuary (a name which might be changed in the TV series given the association with Terminus). Not only is this is a huge compound with plenty of space for the Saviors, but it has an elaborate "security system" which means there's only one way in and out.
The system consists of a stone barricades, and impaled and chained walkers all around the outside of the base so that there's only a small avenue for people or vehicles to get through. This makes it near impossible for a sneak attack on the base, and also the high potential for death if anyone attempts to get to the gates unharmed. But really this should come as no surprise seeing as we've seen the Saviors use this tactic once before when Maggie and Carol were trapped:
As you might be able to see, the security system definitely involved some heads on spikes, so it stands to reason that the image AMC released is probably from outside Negan's compound.
It may not be as interesting as a whole new group of survivors, but seeing how and where Negan lives will bring with it a whole new level of understanding to this charming and terrible villain, and I know a lot of fans will be eagerly awaiting the episode we can finally set eyes on the Sanctuary.
Watch The Walking Dead when it returns to AMC on October 23 at 9pm ET.