For years, so much of the speculation about The Walking Dead has been about the arrival of Negan. Now that he has been brought to life with aplomb by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, fans have to take back to the page to figure out where the story goes from here. When The Walking Dead Season 8 returns in 2018 on a date that has yet to be announced, there's new potential for comic book moments to look for, from big milestones to new threats. (In previous seasons, the show has had its midseason premiere around February.)
UPDATE: On Sunday's Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick announced that The Walking Dead Season 8 will return on Feb. 25.
EARLIER: Season 8 of the AMC series has thus far followed the "All Out War" arc from Robert Kirkman's comics fairly closely. The characters may be a little different — folks like Andrea, Paul Monroe, and little Sophia have survived in the comics much longer than they did on the television show. However, the basic beats of the war between Rick and Negan have pretty much all come to pass the same way that they do in the graphic novels. So, what's next?
It seems like the bombing of Alexandria from the comics may happen in the midseason finale. The episode of The Talking Dead after the penultimate episode of 2017 promised that the finale would end with a moment fans won't stop talking about. That may be a death, and there are a lot of beloved characters still standing on The Walking Dead that could perish. It could also be the arrival of a new faction, or a major moment from the comics. Here are a few things, big and small, that fans may be looking forward to when Season 8 returns.
Dwight Officially Switches Sides
In the comics, Rick recognizes Dwight as an ally and welcomes him into his fold. This seems like it's down the pike on The Walking Dead. Eugene may have spared his life and kept his mutinous secret, but time is running out.
A Change In Living Situations
When and/if Alexandria burns, the residents will need to split up and find shelter elsewhere. In the comics, the no-longer safe zone is completely evacuated. A reorganization could lead to new character dynamics and relationships. Not all of the conflict on The Walking Dead has to be about zombies and and battle lines. The human drama is always the best part.
Teen Love Triangle
Speaking of, sure Carl's romantic drama in the comics includes the long-dead Sophia (until another girl arrives), but his and Enid's budding relationship could hit a few snags on the show — especially if he and Rick move to the Hilltop.
Negan Behind Bars
At the end of the "All Out War" arc, Negan is locked up for life. Well... you know that doesn't last, right? Unfortunately, that just gives him the opportunity to bond with Carl. We've already gotten a taste of that on The Walking Dead and it will most likely be explored more.
The next big threat to come is this group from the comics who disguise themselves in walker skin. Their leader, a woman, goes by the codename Alpha. Her second in command is Beta. They're a strange bunch, not unlike Jadis and the dumpsters, but the next war in the comics is with them.
That's not something from the comics, just something that should be addressed at some point. Where did he go??
The "Death" Of Lucille
Recently in the comics, Negan's prized weapon is destroyed. It's almost as satisfying as if Negan himself had kicked it. Dwight actually wields the barbed bat for a while in the comics too, which would be interesting to see on The Walking Dead.
A Time Jump
Finally, the "A New Beginning" arc in the comics takes place two years after the war between Negan and Rick Grimes. The community has been rebuilt, and a new group of survivors arrive that wonder if they have stumbled upon one of the many dystopian communities that Rick and his group met back in the day. That seems like a likely road the show will take. Is that what Old Man Rick was all about?
Whatever happens, The Walking Dead still manages to keep fans guessing even when it reaches to the source material, and that's what keeps us coming back year after year.