Fair Warning: This article is utterly and completely filled with spoilers - both from the comic books and for the upcoming Season 7 of The Walking Dead alike. DO NOT continue if you do not wish to be spoiled. You've been warned.
Since The Walking Dead is derived from Robert Kirkman's comic books series, it's only logical that fans will try to predict what's about to happen on the TV show by comparing it to the comics. While you can watch the trailer and read a detailed breakdown of it, I concentrated on relating the frames to their comic book references. This way I came across some more spoilery content not meant for the faint of heart. So, here I'll try to predict what Season 7 of The Walking Dead may bring and, for that, I'll be using both the Comic Con Season 7 trailer and The Walking Dead comic books. I've done a comic book vs trailer breakdown recently, detailing all the frames that relate to the story from the comics.
The Season 7 trailer has given fans a lot to conjecture about - without even showing any of the main characters - so below you'll see comic book imagery and trailer stills side-by-side, with a brief prediction based on the book's plot. Keep reading, and you'll find that "it's going to be pee pee pants city here real soon".
Resetting the Mood
One of the biggest worries after that cliffhanger on The Walking Dead Season 6 finale was how the producers would start Season 7 right where they left off. Some said that the premiere would start after Negan had killed one Survivor, and that we'd only see the death in a flashback. Others wondered if Lucille's victim would only be revealed later on in the season but, if the promotional photos and the Comic Con trailer are any indication, it seems showrunner Scott M. Gimple has decided to pick up Season 7 moments before Season 6 ended.
The infamous eeny-meeny line-up has been reassembled in hopes to get viewers back into the fearful and emotional mental state they were in last season's finale. Having the whole Negan introduction play out once more - perhaps with some extra dialogue - might just bring viewers into the hopelessness of the Survivors' stalemate. A shrewd choice, in this writer's opinion, because this opening sequence is pivotal to ensure any death will carry any weight and have any true meaning at all.
Negan's Home Sweet Home
The Walking Dead has done a fantastic job of bringing the comic books' prime locations to life on the screen and, no doubt, the Sanctuary will be no exception. Negan's compound is an abandoned factory, protected by barbed-wire fences and a chained walker fence alike. Similar to what the Season 6 finale showed us - with chained walkers closing off one of the roads Rick's group intended to take - the walkers in the Sanctuary serve both as a 'keep out' warning and a defense against invaders.
So far, from what we can gather from the trailer, it seems the chained walkers will be used by the Saviors on the show as well. There are also impaled walkers around the perimeter, which seems pretty efficient in stopping anyone from entering, if you ask me. The Sanctuary is where one of the most epic face-offs from 'All Out War' (Issues #115 to #127 ) takes place, and it might just be that Negan will end up having a 'No Way Out' situation on his plate.
When the Survivors went to the Hilltop for the first time last season and met their leader Gregory, his own people tried to kill him right in front of the guests. In a clear indication of his absolute lack of leadership, Gregory taunted Maggie and totally discredited her proposal simply because she was a woman. He talked down to her - and even offered to take her a his lover - only to walk out of his main house and get stabbed in the guts. What a true leader!
The fact his own men were willing to kill him for Negan is a clear indication that no one actually believes him able to lead them against the big bad. And they would be right. Gregory took Maggie's / Rick's offer to off Negan because he knew no better, but he's too fearful to encourage his people to fight against their oppressor. That's when Maggie comes in - should she survive Negan on the show - and that's why, for some, Glenn's death is so important. It's Glenn's loss that propels Maggie into leadership position in the Hilltop later on and that, eventually, seals Gregory's fate.
The Survivors Meet Shiva
In the comics, it's Rick who introduces readers to the Kingdom, when Jesus takes him to Ezekiel for the first time. Considering the Survivors' fate is a huge question mark at the moment, and that Morgan and Carol are already on their way there, a leadership reunion may take a while after all.
The roar we get from Shiva in the trailer, originally happens when Rick's group of survivors meet the King and Michonne seems to have a problem with Ezekiel having a tiger for a pet. She pulls out her katana, threatening Ezekiel, and that's when Shiva advances on Michonne and the group and roars. According to Ezekiel, violence doesn't sit well with her - yes, Shiva is a girl!
In the comics, our Tara doesn't exist. That would explain why a Savior gets to be named Tara and why that woman next to Dwight in the still above looks so much like the Tara from the books. This showdown happens as a result of Rick's plan to have Jesus trailing after Dwight, in hopes to finding out more about the Saviors. As it turns out, Dwight eventually reaches one of Negan's outposts and the Saviors there soon realize he's been followed. They then proceed to take Jesus down - after some ass-kicking on his part - and Tara wants to be the one to off him, but Dwight denies it.
The trailer features a car chase and some stunts that involve Dwight and Tara - who will clearly be renamed - but it's hard to know if that scene has anything to do with Jesus. Given Dwight doesn't have a bike to leave Alexandria on - since Daryl doesn't exist in the comics also - it might just be that they've changed how Jesus gets caught on the show. Don't fret about Jesus though - that guy is as slippery as an eel.
Do You Hear Whispers?
Now, if you know who the Whispers are, don't diss this theory just yet. And for those of you who have no clue, let me explain.
The Whispers are a whole new set of antagonists, who only appear after the 'All Out War' chapter is long concluded in the comics. They are a group of survivors on their own, who cut off dead people's skin and dry it, so that they may latter wear it to walk among the walkers. The Whispers are a more contemporary - and gross - adapted version of what Rick and the gang used to do with walker guts in the early seasons. Only they're secluded and dangerous, with a pretty bad leader, and will not stand anyone disturbing their lifestyle.
Granted they only appear later on, but what about those dried walkers we see Heath and Tara - our Tara - face off with in the trailer? They're emerging from sand as a group - something the walkers don't do is act as a group - and their walker make-up seems a bit different from the usual. The one thing Charlie Adlard did on the comics, to make sure the Whispers were set apart from normal walkers, was to give their eyes a more sunken look. So, where your regular walker has somewhat white eyes, the Whispers have black ones. And don't those walkers from the trailer have said darker eyes? Here's a TV show walker comparison for you!
Of course, it is definitely way too early to bring about the Whispers on The Walking Dead - I hear ya! - so it may just be that Greg Nicotero has decided to change his walkers' look for the upcoming season. The walkers have been decaying from season to season - as has the title sequence - hence it's entirely possible that these walkers have dried out faster due to being more exposed to the heat and sand. To find out whether or not they're the Whispers, we'll have to wait until Season 7 premieres - or the producers indulge us with some extra footage.
For all of you who've read this far, remember that - although the footage is legit - The Walking Dead is famous for twisting things around from the comics to the screen. So, even if they sometimes follow what Robert Kirkman envisioned in the books, the showrunners manage to add their spice to it - making this prediction business particularly hard for fans.
Whatever prediction you and I may have, one thing about this trailer is absolutely 100% sure: Gimple and his gang have succeeded in diverging any and all attention from the Season 6 cliffhanger to what's next for The Walking Dead Season 7. We all had our doubts about how they'd put a trailer together without any main characters in it and still make it worth our while. Well, they've pulled it off and - in this writer's opinion - they nailed it!
Season 7 of The Walking Dead premieres October 23, on AMC.
Did you take out any other comic book references from the trailer? Let me know in the comment section below!