The first footage from season 7 of The Walking Dead was shown this past weekend at SDCC met with generally good responses. We get a look at new characters, new locations, new deadly scenarios for our heroes to deal with, but, unsurprisingly, nothing on who exactly will be dealing with these deadly scenarios.
Now, I don’t need to go into a rant about how awful season 6’s finale was. I don’t need to tell you how misguided leaving season 6 on THAT cliffhanger was and how good story telling revolves around characters dealing with tragedy, not a tragedy itself… Ok, humor me for a moment. Scott Gimple should have simply watched season one of Game of Thrones to figure out how to best deal with a major death. Of course killing off an important character is a huge moment for any long running series. I’m not saying Negan shouldn’t kill anybody. It’s a huge moment in the comic and should be masterfully adapted for live action. But, what I am saying is they didn’t need to telegraph the death and make it a cliffhanger for next season. Our heroes have escaped deadly junctures time and time again in the series, so the audience shouldn’t have thought any different in this scenario. The death should have come as a surprise and gone just as fast, only leaving us to wonder how Rick will take down this clearly more powerful force, as Negan and the Saviors are.
So any marketing or new footage from season 7 won’t show any of our main characters doing anything worthwhile other than making eye contact with Negan’s dick hole. Which is completely fine with me, there’s plenty cool things happening in season 7 without Rick and the gang.
Yes, Negan does indeed kill someone as we can see from this very bloodied up Lucille. Negan comes to the plate hacking and apparently hits a home run. At whose expense? I begrudgingly cannot say yet. Mostly likely not Rick or Carl though.
Speaking again of Negan, he must hold a lot of weight around the area. These hardened men kneel to him just as he walks in their direction. Until the final 10 minutes of season 6, we’ve only heard rumors of how powerful and feared he is, mostly from the Hilltop. This shot’s cool because we get a brief look at a day in the life of this malevolent tyrant and we can speculate at the depths his citizens will go to just to not piss him off.
For some reason (I actually know the reason because I’m an avid comic reader) Dwight figures a lot into the season 7 trailer. Here we see him look up at something larger and daunting – maybe a wall of some kind. At first I thought he was at Alexandria’s walls, but their gates aren’t very large or overly oppressive to anyone trying to break in. Like I said before, there’s cool, new characters coming into the picture that will rise to the level of our known heroes at some point in season 7. Definitely keep one melted eye out for Dwight.
Enemy at the gate! Looks like Negan knows exactly where Alexandria is and judging by how Rick treated the Saviors the first time he showed up at their compound, I’m thinking Negan’s not there to make friends. This place of refuge for Rick and the gang that looked like heaven just one season ago, now feels more like purgatory as Negan and the Saviors impose their unfair and absolute rule over another community. Alexandria’s “deal” with the Saviors is probably the same as the Hilltop’s: the Saviors get half of everything and nobody dies.
Expanding the world further, we finally meet King Ezekiel in his community called the Kingdom. He’s a larger than life character in the comic and it’ll be interesting to see how Khary Payton brings him to life on screen. I’m so far very pleased with the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan for Negan, so I have no doubt Payton can bring this regal gentleman to the real world.
What I’m not too thrilled with is our first look at Shiva, Ezekiel’s pet tiger. Again, it’s just our first look, but Shiva looks real fake – noticeably GCI. Of course, it would be a monumental and dangerous task to tame a real tiger for the show, but I hope every scene where Shiva takes down a group of zombies or interacts with TWD actors doesn’t completely take me out of the episode. It’s an unbelievable world with unbelievable circumstances and personalities, but everything in the show still looks so real. It’ll be a huge shame if they can’t get Shiva’s action scenes spot on, or even worse, under utilize her for that sake.
Anytime TWD expands the breadth of living civilization, giving us more survivors in organized, thriving communities with different ways of life, I’m a happy camper. The Kingdom definitely has its quirks – it’s run by a damn king and it’s warriors wear armor. Luckily, this king is not a dictator, but rather a benevolent ruler. We saw his “subjects” briefly in the season 6 finale, coming to the aid of Carol and Morgan as Carol was badly hurt. While the way they find the Kingdom seems contrived to me, I like that Carol and Morgan end up together sharing this experience. I’m thinking sometime later in the season, before the break, Carol and Morgan will burst through Alexandria’s gates bearing with them the support of the Kingdom to fight the war against the Saviors.
Season 7 promises to be the biggest in TWD. If it’s anything like the immaculate comic it take direction from, there will be more action this season than from any season of any show in the history of television. It’s a new chapter for TWD, one that I pray to Oden will get the bad taste of season 6 out of my mouth.