- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead” mid-season premiere, “Adaptation.”
- INSIDER breaks down some of the smaller moments you may have missed on the return of AMC’s zombie series, including a callback to the season seven premiere and an iconic comic scene.
“The Walking Dead” is back and we finally have our first real look at the show’s new threat, The Whisperers.
But while the group bid a final farewell to Jesus and Negan was exploring the world after more than six years in a jail cell, you may have overlooked a few details, including a crucial callback to the brutal season seven premiere.
Executive producer and director Greg Nicotero and showrunner Angela Kang join INSIDER to point out some smaller moments you may have missed on Sunday’s return of AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
If Negan’s new shirt made you do a double take, there’s a reason why.
There’s only one man who wore shirts like that?
That was one of Rick’s shirts!
If that tan shirt looked familiar, episode director Greg Nicotero confirmed to INSIDER Negan was wearing one of Rick’s shirts. He got it while breaking into Michonne’s home while she was out of town.
“He finds himself in Michonne’s house, he goes into Judith’s room, he takes Rick’s shirt, and he takes a hat because he’s trying to disguise himself,” said Nicotero.
There’s a reason the Whisperers didn’t just go after everyone at the cemetery.
The Whisperers have a great way to blend in with zombie hordes, but there’s one big downside: It puts them at a disadvantage when trying to fight another group while also trying to stay undercover.
“If they start acting like humans, they will be found out,” Nicotero said of the Whisperers making any sudden movements around the real undead.
“That’s one of the reasons why the scene in the cemetery in the beginning was challenging. If the Whisperers execute any big moves that would alert the other walkers around them that they are human and they’re blowing their cover,” he continued. “So we had to be really cautious about how they moved and how quickly they moved. I didn’t want it to look like there was a million stunt people running at our characters all the time.”
In case you were wondering, that really was Tom Payne slung over a horse as he was carried back to the Hilltop.
“We could have just done a dummy or something,” “TWD” showrunner Angela Kang told INSIDER. “[Payne] was like, ‘I’ll do it if you want me to. If you want me to be the body in the episode I will be there.'”
You can read more on why it was important for Kang to show the group bringing Jesus back to the Hilltop here.
It looked like Negan left Alexandria in the dead of night, but he actually escaped at dawn.
It seemed a little silly that Negan left his jail cell while it was still dark out, but waited until broad daylight to escape.
“Maybe that’s a little too confusing. Part of it is he had escaped probably closer to dawn,” said Kang, explaining that Negan wasn’t out just wandering around Alexandria. “The daylight may have not totally worked for us. They actually did shoot it first thing in the morning, at first light, when he’s escaping, but it gets bright very quickly.”
When Negan leaves his jail cell, it’s supposed to have a “Halloween” feeling to it.
“One of the things I loved about that sequence is you’re not sure what he’s planning on doing,” Nicotero said of when Negan first escapes his cell and wanders around Alexandria to Michonne’s home. “It’s that low angle shot, again, that Michael Meyers shot of him standing in front of the brownstone and you’re like, ‘What is he going to do? Holy sh–, what’s happening?'”
Negan just wound up taking some clothes and a compass, but for a moment while he was creeping up the stairs with a shovel, it was slightly unnerving.
Judith tells Negan if she ever sees him again, she’ll shoot him. It reminds us of another conversation between Daryl and Dwight.
Judith’s ability to let Negan leave reminds us of when Daryl let Dwight similarly ride off into the sunset. His ultimatum was a little more final.
He told Dwight if he ever saw his face again he would kill him.
“”You go, and you keep going,” Daryl tells Dwight. “Don’t you ever come back here again. If I ever see your face around here again, I’ll kill you. You go out there and you make it right.”
It looks like Dwight listened to Daryl’s advice because he winds up on “Fear the Walking Dead” later this year.
This shot of Michonne on the bridge reminded us of when Michonne first joined the show back on season three.
Seeing two walkers in front of Michonne gave us a flashback to when she used to carry around two of the undead on chains to protect her (and sometimes Angela) as she walked among the dead.
Negan returned to the place where he killed Glenn and Abraham on the season seven premiere.
That wasn’t just any clearing. Negan took off Rick’s shirt in the clearing where he brutally bashed in Abraham and Glenn’s heads.
“It’s funny because I’ve talked to a lot of people and about half the people that I’ve talked to didn’t catch that,” he said of Negan returning to that same plot of land. “It’s something that I think is critical for Negan’s story because he doesn’t know who he is.”
Nicotero also pointed out that Negan was kneeling, just as he made Rick’s people do when he first met them.
You can read more on how Nicotero decided to bring Negan back to this spot on the mid-season premiere here.
The episode ends with a woman pointing a double barrel shotgun at Alden and Luke. That pose was straight out of the comics.
Comic fans recognised this exact moment from issue No. 132. Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, approaches Luke and Alden
The capture of the duo is similar to one that happens in the comics. In the books, it’s two different characters Alpha takes.
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