With a month to go before [The Walking Dead](series:201193) returns to screens, AMC has released a new promo poster that has got the internet very excited for the February 8th, Season 5B premiere!
The poster features most of the cast walking away in the background, with Rick and Daryl turned facing the camera. In the foreground lies probably the biggest clue for where the second half of Season 5 is headed: the map with directions to D.C.
We first saw the map with the message to Rick in the first half of Season 5 when Abraham and the group left on their short-lived journey to Washington, D.C. Last time it resurfaced it was in the hands of Morgan in Father Gabriel's church. The promo image definitely hints that we'll see more of Morgan in the back half of Season 5, but also that a major setting from the comic books, the Alexandria Safe-Zone, is on the cards.
This would fit in with what showrunner Scott Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday about Morgan, the map and where the gang was (or wasn't) headed:
He [Morgan] has that map and it means something. He has this massive breadcrumb. Now, Rick and his group aren't necessarily on their way to D.C. but it's something. Morgan knows Rick Grimes could be alive and could be somewhere nearby and perhaps on that path. It's something. Morgan sat there and he prayed [in the church] and then he laughed at the idea of praying and then he found that map. So perhaps it's divine intervention.
Gimple outright saying, "Rick and his group aren't necessarily on their way to D.C. but it's something," definitely lends credence to the Alexandria Safe-Zone theory.
The shot of the group is also very telling. A number of members are missing, with what looks like only the major players remaining. Rick and Daryl being the only two facing the camera is very interesting. Rick is obviously the closest to the camera, being the leader, but Daryl trailing behind could be indicative of the recent role he seems to have taken, where he's tried to keep Rick in check, almost reminding him to keep his humanity.
I'm not sure if anything can be read into the group split into two sides, but having Tyreese (who has in recent episodes disagreed with Rick) on one side, and Michonne and Carl (who are unlikely to falter from their Rick Grimes loyalty) on the other side, makes for some great speculation - what will happen to this previously close knit group in Season 5B?
However, the promotional poster appears to be a little more intriguing than what we can see at first glance. AMC seems to have released two versions of the poster, with two very slight differences. Can you can spot it?
Here's the poster from above:
And the other one:
Notice the differences? What about now:
It looks like they have swapped out Rosita, on the right (identified by her pigtails) for Maggie on the left (identified by matching the white T-shirt from the Season 5B trailer). The character under Rick's left knee is also different in both posters, and looks like Carl and Carol have been swapped around in either poster (left is Carl under Rick's knee, right is Carol under Rick's knee).
The image including Maggie, and (who is) probably Carol, is the one that is currently featured on the official Walking Dead Twitter and Facebook pages. The whole thing is a little mysterious, but Eugene, Father Gabriel, Sasha, Tara and Noah are all missing as well, so maybe it was simply a case of not managing to squeeze everyone in.
Regardless of what it means, it's very exciting. Hopefully within the next week or two we'll also get an updated trailer which is sure to be full of great hints for upcoming episodes, I can't wait.
Update: Thanks to commenter Lee Ames for spotting the second character difference in the posters.