Warning: There are potential spoilers below for “The Walking Dead.”
AMC debuted a new clip from “The Walking Dead” season seven and it’s sure to send fans into a frenzy of guessing games.
The clip starts off soon after the cliffhanger season six finale in which one of Rick’s group was brutally murdered by Negan — the leader of an opposing group called the Saviors.
Rick speaks with Negan telling him that one day in the future he’s going to kill him. It’s a scene ripped straight from issue #100 of the comics. From there, the scene makes a departure from the beloved graphic series as Negan asks for Rick’s weapon (a hatchet) and then proceeds to drag him to his RV. It’s a low point for Rick to be at the mercy of another human being.
After watching the clip closely it’s clear they want you to think that a big character bit the dust. Did you notice the big hint?
The scene ends panning over the ground until it falls onto a bloody mix of gravel, earth, and what may be some human flesh. But before we see that, we see a blanket ditched on the ground. If you saw that blanket and gasped, you probably remembered there was one character in Negan’s lineup who was covered in a blanket.
Here’s a photo of the lineup from the season six finale:
Still having trouble there? This may help.
It’s Daryl Dixon.
OK. Now pick your jaw back up.
Sure, the blanket certainly could be Daryl’s. Who else’s could it have been? Daryl was the only one in the group covered in a sheet of any kind. If you’re freaking out about Daryl possibly kicking the bucket, we’re not convinced he’s the one Negan took out — right away at least. This is most likely a misdirect to get the fandom worried about fan favourite Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) ahead of the premiere for several reasons.
1. Would AMC really give away a hint that big in plain sight? The network, cast, and crew become pretty tight-lipped whenever you bring up the cliffhanger. AMC isn’t providing anyone with episode screeners of the first episode. They don’t want us thinking we can easily figure out the answer. Where’s the fun in that, right? It’s probably a little fun to tease the fandom who gets extra touchy whenever Reedus’ character appears to be in danger.
2. Look at the placement of Daryl’s blanket in the clip. It is far away. Why is it so far removed from the group? If Negan killed him right on the spot as we saw in the season six finale, Daryl’s blanket should still be in the lineup with the group. That’s not the case here.
3. There are rumours that Daryl will be in the season much longer. According to fan site, The Spoiling Dead, Daryl will later get held prisoner by Negan’s group. Norman Reedus was also spotted filming scenes with several actors including Carol (Melissa McBride).
But that still leaves us to ponder the mystery of the blanket. If it’s Daryl’s, how did it get there?
There are two ways I see this playing out. One is that during the first beating, Daryl collapses in grief by who’s chosen and is forced to get up off the ground. In the process, he has the blanket ripped off of him by Negan or someone else who discards it aside. Negan wants him to straighten up and calls him a pansy or something more colourful.
Redditor @DaRockett has another plausible theory. Perhaps Daryl interfered with the first beating and lost his blanket in the process. If he did interfere though, he’s probably dead too. Negan warned no one else to give any outbursts. Killing Daryl off after giving that big of a hint just seems too easy.
While it could ultimately be Daryl, after a rewatch of the season six finale, the season seven clip, and Saturday evening’s panel, I think we can narrow Negan’s victim down to two individuals (three if you still want to include Daryl).
The biggest clue came in the first second of the preview clip.
Check out that fresh blood on Rick’s face. Notice it’s on his right cheek. If it spattered onto him from Negan’s beating his victim should be on Rick’s right. If that’s the case, we can eliminate a few of the group off of the potential kill list.
Here’s the lineup again.
The people on Rick’s left are Sasha, Aaron, Carl, and Eugene. I’m willing to bet they’re all pretty safe.
That leaves Glenn, Rosita, Daryl, Michonne, Abraham, and Maggie to be hit by Negan’s bat.
However, that bloody mark is pretty large. It’s not just a few splatters. It has to be someone pretty close near Rick. The closest characters to him are Maggie, Abraham, Michonne, and then Daryl, in that order.
Honestly, with a splatter that large I wouldn’t be surprised it Negan’s victim was Abraham or Maggie. Michonne seems a little too far down the line and Rick just suffered a loss of another lady love recently. Two so quickly after one another? I’m not buying it.
Maggie could make sense to kill off. In the comics, it’s her husband Glenn who gets brutally ravaged by the bat. If Maggie’s killed, it would be a gender-swap of the death. Plus, it’s a bit unexpected since actress Lauren Cohan cut her hair for the role and really hasn’t grown it back out yet.
However, at Saturday’s panel Cohan had me convinced she may be the one to get the bat to the head. She became really emotional and broke down a bit when panel host Chris Hardwick asked how her character would handle the situation if she wasn’t in her fragile state from the finale.
I was able to capture most of her response. Take a look at some of the footage of Cohan speaking to the NYCC audience:
Of course, she could also be a little upset over the death of someone close to her, like Glenn, but he’s pretty far down in the lineup.
Here’s the problem with killing off Maggie. Negan has little to gain by killing her. She already looks pretty sickly and weak in that lineup. He even notices that.
She’s most likely suffering a miscarriage and if she doesn’t receive some medical attention she could die on her own anyway. Would “The Walking Dead” really kill a pregnant woman? Oof.
If I were Negan, I’d want to get rid of the person who looks like they would be the second largest threat after Rick Grimes. That person, at least by appearance, is Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).
Abraham has already outlived his comic lifespan on the show. In Kirkman’s series, it’s Abraham and not Denise who gets killed by an arrow through the eye.
The scene showed Saturday night at Comic Con, and later released online, is called “Right Hand Man.” In it, Negan goes off script from the comic and starts discussing his own second in command with Rick.
Negan then asks if Rick has a right-hand man and says that maybe he just killed that person.
Fans know Rick’s right-hand man is obviously Daryl, but if I was Negan, and I wanted to make a guess at Rick’s right hand man, I would take out the threatening-looking brute force of Abraham. Plus, in the comics, Abraham really is Rick’s second-in-command so this would be a nice nod to that.
There have even been heavy rumours that Abraham will be the one killed off.
There is one added detail that throws a little bit of a wrench in my line of thought.
The rumour that’s been going around for a while is that Negan will kill off not one, but two of Rick’s group in the premiere episode. If that happens, not only will it be a departure from the comics (not uncommon), but then it could be possible that Daryl is killed.
Even Jeffrey Dean Morgan himself confirmed to Den of Geek in a special New York Comic Con issue that Negan will kill more than one person in the show’s premiere.
“Negan’s not just going to kill one person in [the premiere],” Morgan told Den of Geek. “He’s not afraid of bashing in skulls.”
Of course, Negan could be killing anyone else later on in the premiere episode. Perhaps, one of his own men gives him a tough time. Morgan did say at the New York Comic Con panel that his men follow him more out of fear. What better way to instill fear than by randomly killing a Saviour every now and then to teach a lesson? But maybe Negan actually does kill two people in the lineup. Maybe it’s Abraham and Maggie.
Maybe Daryl does interfere during or after Negan’s initial killing. Perhaps he’s a second casualty, kicked around, or taken prisoner by Negan’s group as a result. But maybe I have a hard time seeing Daryl lash out if Abraham is killed, but I could see it happening if Maggie was bludgeoned to death. Since Beth’s death, it’s been tough for him to hold onto hope in the zombie apocalypse, but Maggie and Glenn’s death and definitely Maggie’s pregnancy, which I believe Daryl is aware of, was a bright spot in a dark world.
The other alternative I see playing out is that Negan takes the bat to Abraham and a completely different character we don’t see afterwards. And it’s that second death that causes Daryl to lose it.
We know the premiere episode is supposed to have a huge emotional impact on the audience and that would really do it.
We’ll have to wait until October 23 when “The Walking Dead” returns to AMC to find out for sure.
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