This post contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 and the comic book series.
Now that fans have taken a few days to process the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead, it is officially time to speculate and theorize about next season, which premieres in October. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple is already giving some insight about what's to come — and fans of The Walking Dead comic books might be excited to hear the phrase "time jump" in his latest interview. But is he promising to follow the comics' flash-forward or cover ground they skip?
I have learned not to hang on every word in these teaser interviews, but when talking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gimple discussed the possibility of using a time jump just as the comics did in Issue 127:
"We're doing the book, we do all sorts of variations on it, and then we do things that are inspired by it and then we change things up with a remix. But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting. And thus we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we'll do that two to five years in real time."
Readers will know that Issues 127 through 132 cover "A New Beginning," a jump two years in the future after the All-Out War, with Rick managing a unified system of safe zones while Negan is being held captive in Alexandria. Michonne ran off to Oceanside after a breakup with Ezekiel, and a teenage Carl is more distracted by girls than impending threats. But if the show were to flash-forward as Gimple teases, we could see a more mature-looking Carl. Would Chandler Riggs (who'll be in college) still play the part?
We also get the introduction into the character of Magna, who becomes a key ally to Rick later on and will no doubt make an appearance on the show.
A time jump spanning a few years could likely take away the kind of dragging episodes that many viewers complained about during Season 7. There is an option to do it midway through Season 8 or wait and do it as a segway into Season 9, like a fresh restart.
However, by "it might not be the same sort of jump, or we'll do that two to five years in real time," Gimple may have also been implying that the show will give us numerous future seasons of material that's only alluded to in the comics before catching up with them. I honestly don't think they would wait two to five years of our time to bring TV viewers up to date with the current comic arcs, but then again, Gimple wants the show to last for 20 years.
Gimple also talked about his long-term plan, and how he involves comic book writer and TWD creator Robert Kirkman, in the #TV show's future:
"There's stuff in there that I was reading that I wondered about, and when I wonder about stuff that I like, I like getting into that stuff [on the show]. We're definitely going to honor it and do it, but we're definitely going to have either more of it or possibly do it in a different way."
While Season 7 stayed true to some of the comic book storylines, comparatively, Season 8 has the chance to throw the comics readers for a loop. Since many of the characters' fates are mixed around from the comics to the show, there is plenty of material to work from without sticking to the exact plot; the writers have the ability to whip up any kind of content they want with those missing two years.
As the show is just heading into the "All Out War" comic book plot, there is potential to carry out the fight against Negan for much of Season 8. No matter what path Gimple and Kirkman decide to go down in the near future, it will most likely lead to Rick's next major threat — yes, I am talking about the Whisperers!
Season 8 of The Walking Dead will premiere in October 2017.
Do you think a time jump is coming? Tell us below in the comments with your thoughts!
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)