The Walking Dead Season 8 Will Conclude the Rick and Negan Rivalry

The Walking Dead Season 8’s touted “All Out War” storyline will be resolved by the season’s end, confirms the showrunner.

Warning: Potential SPOILERS for The Walking Dead Season 8 (and 9).

It’s well established at this point that The Walking Dead Season 8 will be a bloodbath of epic proportions after the tension-teeming (often-frustrating,) Season 7 set the stage for a colossal conflagration between survivors, branded in Robert Kirkman’s comic book source material as “All Out War.” Yet, fans of the series have been bitten by the cliffhanger bug more than once; something that may mitigate their excitement. However, showrunner Scott Gimple confirms that Season 8 will see a definitive resolution.

The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple, a figure who found himself under fire for the controversial cliffhanger tease that gapped Season 6 to Season 7, has good news on the “All Out War” front for fans who are still irate. Speaking to EW, the showrunner states unequivocally:

“The war will absolutely be resolved by the end of season 8. Absolutely.”

This welcome bit of candor regarding The Walking Dead Season 8 arc should be well received by even the most jaded of fans who may have assumed that the All Out War between the multi-community coalition led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and apocalyptic plunderers the Saviors, led by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) would become a prolonged, multi-season affair (cynically designed to extend the life of the AMC series).

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It’s not an unfounded fear, since the series did just that in Season 3, a methodically-paced run that was seemingly building to a killer crescendo with a factional war between Rick’s group – living in an abandoned prison – and that of the tyrannical sociopathic suburban community leader the Governor (David Morrissey). Indeed, the culminating Season 3 skirmish proved to be only a minor kerfuffle, with the series saving the larger-scaled final conflict between communities for a (nevertheless epic,) midway moment in Season 4; one that saw the sagely, beloved, Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) memorably martyred.

Oddly enough, despite the potentially riveting Season 8 prospects, Gimple’s confirmation shifts our speculative focus to Season 9. That’s because July’s Comic-Con-unveiled Season 8 trailer dropped a potent hint about the long-term future of the series, with a shot of an older, white-bearded, Rick waking up in bed, with a revelatory shot of a walking cane by his bedside; a clear callout to The Walking Dead comic book series, which, after “All Out War” concluded, engaged in a time-jump two years ahead to a period in which Rick (whose leg was permanently damaged by Negan in the climactic battle), is a central figure of a thriving alliance of communities (including the Saviors).

However, all that hippie-dippy good-time Kumbayah fun comes crashing down quickly when the mistaken crossing of unmarked borders makes the communities the focus of a new threat in a macabre, primal and ultra-territorial group of survivors called the Whisperers. Led by a mysterious woman called Alpha, the stealthy, soft-spoken Whisperers wear masks cut from the faces of the dead, which – similar to Rick’s old trick of covering himself in zombie viscera – allows them to move about unmolested by the herds of undead. Moreover, they’ve also learned to control the random rotting roamers, essentially making them an undead army at their disposal.

As casualties (which include an array of key TV characters,) start to pile up in the increasingly escalating conflict that comes to be known as “The Whisperer War,” Rick and company become overwhelmed and vexed by the savagery of this new group. However, irony peaks its head, since a still-alive Negan – imprisoned at Alexandria – attempts to turn over a new leaf and prove his newfound benevolence to his former victims by helping Rick deal with the new threat – albeit help in an unmistakably Negan way.

Consequently, Gimple’s confirmation that “All Out War” will conclude in Season 8 could also be surmised as confirmation that Season 9 will see the Whisperer War adapted. Considering that there are already loads of theories about how the Whisperers will fit into the show continuity (even positing that we’ve already met their key players), this is clearly auspicious news.  

The Walking Dead Season 8 gets ready for a (confirmed to be conclusive) All Out War when it debuts on AMC on Sunday, October 22, 2017.

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