The villains on The Walking Dead have been some greedy little bastards, haven't they? In Season 4, the Governor wanted the prison. Dawn wanted to keep Noah in Season 5. Gareth wanted a second helping of human casserole in Seasons 4 and 5. And from the end of Season 6, all the way to now in Season 8, Negan wants everything. Or at least half of it. See a trend?
Warning: spoilers for the latest issue of The Walking Dead comic book are below
In the comics, Negan has evolved way past what we saw in the last season, even becoming Rick's ally. He's been by far the most complex villain the comics and the show have seen yet. With the Whisperers being all but defeated in the comics, and Negan actually kind of on the good guys' side, the characters on those pages are past due for a new big bad, or a new conflict. And in the newest issue number 172, #RobertKirkman has promised us just that.
The Next Big Thing Is On Its Way
In the Letter Hacks, the letter to the editors feature at the back of the comic, a reader posed this question:
Can you give us any type of teaser to the next 'big thing'? (ie: the next Governor/Negan/Alpha or All Out War/Whisperers/Wolves/Prison War/Terminus/etc)
Sean Mackiewicz's reply?
#175, this January.
To which Kirkman replied, “That's a good teaser.”
This raises so many questions. Let's pretend for a second that a new villain is going to be introduced— will Kirkman give us another Negan? Looking back at the past villains, I'm 99% sure the answer is a resounding “no.”
Kirkman's villains have evolved from the main character's best friend, to a redneck racist, to a sociopathic one-eyed head collector, to an evil little girl, to cannibals, to wolves, to skinsuit wearing whisperers, to rapists, all the way to a guy who would murder a rapist in cold blood right after he bashed someone's head in just to make a point. Yeah, it's safe to say that if we do get a new villain, he/she is going to either make #Negan look like a kitten, or we'll get blindsided by something else completely unexpected.
But what if the next big thing is a war? How can Kirkman one-up himself and the wars with Negan, the Governor, and the Whisperers? The Marauders, Hunters, and Scavengers in the comics, or their television show counterparts, the Claimers, Terminus cannibals, and the Wolves? Two (possible) words.
Expect A 'Second Apocalypse'
Think about it for a sec. In the beginning, Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to an apocalyptic world overrun by the dead, with just a fraction of the population still living. Now, eight seasons and 172 issues later, the number of the dead have most likely increased and the number of the living have decreased. Both by a lot, according to this theory.
Rick's group seemed to continually lose as many or more people than they gained, until they reached the Alexandria Safe Zone. They still lost members to attacks from both the dead and living, especially during the war with the Whisperers, but their numbers increased so much when they joined that settlement. And now, with the other communities, the number of characters in the comics and the show is sky-high. It's confusing for fans to keep track of everyone, and who knows; the writers might be getting tired of keeping track of all their creations, as well. How could they solve this problem and top the war with the Whisperers, the conflict in the comics that saw the deaths of main characters Gabriel, King Ezekiel, Rosita and her unborn child, Olivia, and Andrea? One outcome would be to reset the playing field once again. Bring back the original villain, before the Governors and the gym coaches rose from the ashes and terrorized the village. Bring back the walkers as the new big bad, and get our core group of survivors back down to the bare minimum.
Or, have all those abandoned nuclear power plants finally implode worldwide, and see how well #RIckGrimes deals with radioactive zombies after his group makes their way out of their bomb shelters!