Warning: This post will contain spoilers for those of you not yet caught up on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
This season of The Walking Dead is the season that fans have been waiting for ever since the series first premiered on AMC. Last year’s mid-season finale left the show on the verge of an entirely new phase in its story as well, with the introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan imminent, and some very big things happening between the show’s lead group of characters along with Alexandria being overcome by zombies, as Rick tried to lead his family to safety… covered in walker guts.
Now, fans are just a little less than a week away from the upcoming midseason premiere titled “No Way Out”, which picks up just moments after the previous episode, and follows Rick and his group through the carnage lying before them.
Rick himself, Andrew Lincoln, recently spoke with EW about the upcoming eight episodes of the season as well, teasing some very big changes and revelations coming up immediately in “No Way Out”:
“We do realize very quickly in the returning episode that it’s almost like the end of a chapter. Something happens. Rick learns a lot about himself in this episode. What I will say is that the pace quickens a lot in the back eight. It jumps up a gear, maybe two gears, and we move very, very quickly. A lot of things happen in quick succession that propel us towards a very thrilling finale.
I will say that five of my favorite episodes in a long time — and very different episodes — are in this back eight. I loved shooting this back eight, from the moment we started with episode 9, which felt like a season premiere. The scale of it is astonishing. And [director] Greg Nicotero and our brilliant crew put their bodies and everything on the line to get it shot. It was all night. It’s absolute mayhem. I think it’s going to scare some people.”
In terms of tension and the stakes alone, I don’t think Lincoln is too far off in his prediction of the episode’s level of horror. Considering the storytelling potential in these eight episodes alone as well, even when it comes to just the show’s newest characters we can expect to be introduced to, it sounds like the hefty expectations fans will be bringing into this back half of the season might not be too high after all.
Lincoln also commented on why the group decides to stay in Alexandria after the zombie invasion this time around, unlike moving to a new location like they have usually done in the past:
“Because it is a functioning community and it was functioning perfectly well until we showed up, which is generally the way. It’s secure. We have the capability of growing things. And we don’t have any other options. There is that. But also, there are substantial houses that work. We have solar panels and electricity and there are certain things that are the beginnings of a civilization, so it would be strange for us to look for somewhere else because I’m not sure if there would be anything as contained and secure and environmentally sound. […] Rick’s strength is seeing that we can fortify this place. A lot of these concerns and questions get answered relatively quickly in the first two or three episodes of this back eight. There is a time jump, I will say, at some point. And you will see why we stay in Alexandria.”
(This next question will contain some minor spoilers for the coming episodes as well, you have been warned.)
When asked about the introduction of new characters like Jesus and Gregory, Lincoln commented on Rick’s reaction to the continually growing world around him, and how the character might deal with the new groups of people that he comes into contact with:
“I think you’ll see there’s a marked change in Rick as a result of what happens in episode 9. It’s one of those watershed moments that happens. And as a result he learns something vital about being a leader. And yet again, he changes. And he develops a new way of leading. And that could be said for the back 8, in that it turns very dark.
I’m more excited than I’ve been for a long, long time. We’ve been spending so much time looking inward and looking inside the walls, certainly in the Alexandria chapter. Now, we’re looking to the horizon. In one direction you see good, and in the other direction, you see very, very bad. But the world is suddenly growing. And as a result, the show grows again. And as a result, the family and Rick as a leader has to develop and adapt to this new world order.”
If the next episodes of this season were all about introducing Negan alone, then these eight installments would still have the potential to be some of the best outings in the series yet. It’s clear from his comments above too, that Lincoln is being careful not to spoil or hint too heavily at what fans should be preparing themselves for in the coming weeks, although the amount of fan theories are just going to continue to grow anyways.
With the world of the series about to be turned inside out practically, and the characters themselves reaching points in their lives they’ve never been before, The Walking Dead has more potential to hit a home run than it ever has before. Here’s to hoping it does just that.
The Walking Dead will return on AMC on Sunday, February 14th.
Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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