There will absolutely be The Walking Dead season 7a spoilers and 7b speculation ahead. Read on at your own risk!
This season of The Walking Dead has been a rough one. The show set us up for an emotional roller coaster with that brutal season six finale cliffhanger, and further delivered with episodes that landed repeated punches to our fandom feels with the deaths of Abraham and Glenn, the imprisonment and torture of Daryl, Maggie's pregnancy complications while mourning the loss of her husband, Rick losing his Ricktatorship spark, and watching Negan haul Eugene off to his Sanctuary. We've been told from the start that life after Negan would never be like life before we met him, and so far the show has held to that promise. Life after Negan has been brutal and incredibly bloody—and new images and a synopsis from AMC prove as much.
The good news is, of course, that all of this craziness managed to snap Rick back into his fighter mode. The first half of season 7 ended with what looked like Alexandria reaching out to Hilltop to form an alliance against Negan, but with the leadership a bit uncertain in Hilltop, who knows how that will go.
AMC has released its official synopsis of the second half of season 7, and said that, "the second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering the supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all." So what does that mean specifically? Take a look:
Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose - to defeat Negan - it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.
We’ll meet new survivors in incredible places. We’ll see Rick and the group tested in ways we’ve never seen before. We'll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army.
It's refreshing to see the return of Rick's fighting spirit (even if it did seem to come at the cost of returning to Alexandria to find a disemboweled Spencer on the sidewalk), but Negan is an enemy unlike any Rick has ever faced. Not only will it be hard to convince leaders like Ezekiel and Gregory to fight back against Negan, but arming everyone will prove challenging, too. The Saviors have already stripped everyone of their guns and ammo, and their frequent and often unannounced visits will make it hard for Rick to build up a secret weapons cache. And even though Maggie is sort of the defacto head of Hilltop, I'm really worried that Gregory is going to go a similar route to Spencer and try to rat the rebels out. After all, he's got a history of ratting people out to the Saviors. If it wasn't for Jesus' quick thinking, Gregory would have turned Maggie and Sasha over to the Saviors long ago.
While Rick is calling together Hilltop and The Kingdom, it will also be interesting to see if the secluded Oceanside community will join in the fight against Negan. They certainly have the motive to fight back, but they also seemed quite happy to live quietly and in secret. While I can't see Tara telling anyone about them, I do wonder if she'll travel back to Oceanside to enlist their help.
Fans of the comic book have seen what kind of craziness is in store for Rick and the other survivors when they engage in war with Negan (no comic book spoilers here!), and it's unclear how closely they'll stick to the comics and what exactly we'll see in the second half of season seven. Will this season just be war preparation, or will the epic fight against Negan start in season 7? Regardless of what goes down, we do know that Rick is making some serious plans, and whether they come to fruition this season or in season 8, we are headed for all out war with Negan and the Saviors.
Now that Rick has gotten his mojo back, Negan's going to be in for a pretty fierce fight. And if anyone can unite a group of random communities together for a common cause, it's going to be Rick. Let's just hope that Carol and Morgan get their heads back in the game and fight, too. After all, what's the Ricktatorship without Rambo Carol?
If you want to get your first look at the season, check out the gallery below, and leave your theories on what's to come in season 7B in the comments!
Image credits: AMC