*SPOILERS for The Walking Dead comic books & possibly Season 6*
When the mid-season trailer for AMC's explosive The Walking Dead season 6 landed a few days back there was plenty for fans to chew on despite the fact that it was a pretty short teaser.
What's eating Michonne? What do those Saviours want with Daryl? Why is Maggie screaming in despair? (Please not Glen please not Glen).
But one thing we were sadly denied was a first look at Jeffery Dean Morgan as the biggest of big bads from the graphic novels, the long awaited Negan. Which makes sense, the Negan reveal has been a long time coming and ever longer anticipated, and he's not expected to show up in person for a while yet.
Since his first memorable (and brutal) appearance in the Something To Fear story arc of the comics Negan has been a fan favourite villain, even more so than the Governor (portrayed by David Morrissey in the TV series). But he's also one that we've feared to see finally appearing on-screen because of the connotations his actions have for the Survivors, and oh there are many.
But just cause we didn't see Morgan himself wielding his barbed-wire wrapped Lucille doesn't mean that Negan's presence wasn't made felt throughout the trailer. "Your property now belongs to Negan" says a Saviour to Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) as he takes his gun from him (bad idea dude, bad idea).
Will We Say Goodbye To Glenn?
But there was something else regarding Negan in the mid-season trailer which many fans have picked up upon already, and that's the fact that it looks like the thing we've been fearing will in fact come to pass.
Yep, it's looking pretty likely that fan favourite and longest serving Survivor after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) himself, Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), is going to get the business end of a barbed wire beating from the brutal overlord Negan.
"The people you love, they're still part of you. Even after they're gone" says a voiceover which sounds like Glenn himself speaking. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) screams in despair as Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) look on in horror; the noise Maggie screams sounding far too much like "Glenn" for our liking.
But the possible death of Glenn wasn't the only big event teased by the trailer, there's another less explicit shot that hints towards a very iconic moment from the series, and one that's all about Carl.
When Walkers rush Alexandria, Rick, Carl, Michonne, Jessie, Ron and Sam attempt to escape from by disguising themselves as Walkers; we saw this at the conclusion of the last episode - Start to Finish - and again during the teaser. Similarly in the comic books Ron (whose role in the TV series is filled by the younger Sam) starts calling for his mother. The Walkers are attracted to the noise, and towards the Survivors.
In the teaser trailer there's a clear shot of Jessie taking Carl's hand; it's a pretty explicit shot too, the camera panning on their hands clasped tight. This lends the gesture an air of significance, which makes sense if the show goes the way of the books.
Her clasping Carl's hand is an important event in the comics as whilst the group makes their way through the crowd of Walkers both Ron and Jessie are bitten. Jessie is holding Carl's hand tightly and won't let him go, even as she is devoured by them. Faced with no other option, Rick hacks off Jessie's arm to save Carl and leaves her to the zombies.
Whilst Rick and Carl turn to run, a panicked Douglas Monroe (whose role as the head of Alexandria is replaced by Deanna Monroe in the show) accidentally shoots Carl in the head, destroying his right eye and a large chunk of his face. (Dammit Carl, stop getting accidentally shot).
It looks something like this:
Though Carl does in fact survive this injury he's left horribly scarred, and this event has severe psychological repercussions for his character - repercussions which bring him into direct conflict with Negan. It's a pretty intense piece of character development, something which Carl has been getting quite a bit of recently in the show, so it's not exactly unlikely that this event could happen to our TV show Carl as well.
So How Likely Is It That This Will Happen?
So does this mean we'll see the horrific scene where Negan caves in Glenn's skull with Lucille? It's one of the most affecting moments over the entire fifteen years of the comic book's run, but might not play so well with fans of the show given the huge popularity afforded to Glenn's character in the fanbase. And what about Carl's eye? It's another big moment and carries perhaps even more shock value than Glenn's death due to the fact that it's so unexpected.
It's certainly not unusual for the show to play with or outright alter events that occurred in the comic book in the translation to an on-screen medium. This is often done for reasons of taste and censorship (such as Michonne's rape and the death of Lori and Judith) but also so that the story plays better with the TV series' specific narrative (such as Rick losing his hand and the deaths of specific characters).
By distancing themselves from the source material The Walking Dead pretty much has the freedom to do a great deal of juggling, but will they keep these two huge events in Season 6?
It is worth nothing that the narrative arc during which Carl is shot in the head is called No Way Out. The title of the premiere episode of the second half of The Walking Dead Season 6 is... also called No Way Out.
Well darn Rick, looks like you might need to be getting your kid an eyepatch sometime soon. We'll find out for sure when The Walking Dead returns on Valentines Day, February 14th 2016.