This Walking Dead article contains spoilers.
The Walking Dead season 10 is the show’s longest season to date, with 22 episodes, but the 11th and final season will take the cake. Kicking off later this year, season 11 will run for 24 episodes through 2022, concluding this chapter of The Walking Dead franchise. While we know there is more story to tell beyond the flagship series, with Daryl and Carol getting their own spin-off and a Rick Grimes movie still on the way, season 11 will mostly likely close the door on a few other storylines. It wouldn’t be surprising, for example, if the series finale was the last time we saw Alexandria.
But there are plenty of stories to tell before then and a few things left unsolved. Who are the mysterious soldiers who’ve captured Eugene and friends and where do they come from? What do the Reapers want with Alexandria? Will Maggie kill Negan?
Here are the storylines that season 11 will need to address before all is said and done:
The mystery behind the Commonwealth is hardly a mystery at all since the new faction is ripped right out of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s Walking Dead comic book. The Commonwealth’s arrival in the comics marked the start of the final major arc in the book, so it makes sense that the TV series’ last season will focus on this group.
An advanced city-state numbering in the thousands with superior weapons and technology, the Commonwealth strives to reclaim the way things were before the apocalypse, but that means preserving the good as well as the bad aspects of pre-outbreak society. The final arc of the comic explores the deep inequality which festers within the Commonwealth’s social structure, one in which you’re assigned a job and status based on the role you played before the end of the world. For example, since Michonne was a lawyer before the outbreak, she is treated as a person superior to Eugene, who was a high school teacher. This is a big juxtaposition to how things are done in Alexandria where everyone is treated equally and every role is important to the community.
The Commonwealth storyline is perhaps the most “political” arc of the 193-issue series, with a bigger focus on social commentary and what it takes to form a truly fair and just society after so much death and destruction. This is also the arc that finally killed off Rick Grimes in the comics, although it’d be surprising if that’s how things play out on the TV series, with Andrew Lincoln off the show and about to star in his own Walking Dead movie. Of course, there’s always the possibility that AMC is saving Rick’s time in the Commonwealth and inevitable demise for said film…
We wrote a lot more about what the Commonwealth means for The Walking Dead season 11 here.
While the Commonwealth will likely be the major focus of season 11, that doesn’t mean the Alexandrians don’t have trouble brewing back home, both outside and within its walls. Just days after killing the last of the Whisperers, the heroes confronted a new threat hunting them in the woods: the Reapers, gun-toting baddies who like to isolate and ambush their prey as well as burn down their camps.
We know very little about the Reapers except that they’ve been hunting Maggie’s group for a while, and they’ve followed her all the way back to Virginia. They only appeared in one episode of season 10, a small tease for a group that will likely spell trouble for Maggie and friends next season.
Maggie vs. Negan
As for what’s going on inside Alexandria, the conflict between Maggie and Negan is the big ticket item. The season 10 finale ended on a cliffhanger of sorts, with Negan moving back into Alexandria after being “banished” by Carol at the start of the episode. While Negan seems defeated at the start of the episode, as he sits alone in exile in Leah’s old cabin, a rebellious smile returns to his face as he struts past a vengeful Maggie in the final moments of the finale. The message is clear: Negan ain’t leaving Alexandria unless it’s in a casket. And Maggie seems more than willing to oblige.
Season 10 devoted a lot of time to the Negan redemption tour, as we watched the villain infiltrate the Whisperers to kill Alpha and protect Lydia, but this mission was hardly selfless. After all, Negan agreed to take on the Whisperers in order to gain his freedom and curry favor with the Alexandria leadership council deciding his fate. We learn in “Here’s Negan” that, while the terrible events that caused the real Lucille’s death are what finally made him snap, he’s always had a dark, violent side, even back when he was a high school gym teacher. Despite the good that he’s done recently, it’s in Negan’s nature to be bad.
Will Negan become the villain once again in season 11 or will he figure out a way to make amends for killing Glenn? Is Maggie beyond apologies? These are questions that will need to be answered before the show ends.
Daryl and Carol
Daryl and Carol are the only two characters from season 1 who are still breathing, so it’s fair to say that they’ve been through A LOT together. And we know that The Walking Dead season 11 won’t be the end of their journey either. Their spinoff, which is slated to premiere in 2023, will see the fan-favorite duo leave Alexandria for a new adventure.
“It’s a different type of a show. It’s about the two of us going to see who’s left in the world,” Norman Reedus told Den of Geek last year, teasing that the show will see Daryl and Carol encounter new groups and characters as they travel from place to place. The actor also says that the spinoff will have a “revolving group of people” involved, which suggests the story will focus more heavily on standalone, “monster-of-the-week” episodes, a format the heavily serialized franchise has mostly avoided.
Reedus points to two Westerns from the 1970s as hints as to what AMC is doing with the new show.
“I was a big fan of TV shows when I was a kid like Kung Fu or Billy Jack, where you have a character who’s roaming the Earth and he gets into new situations, but when they leave, they change the tone of the environment by just being themselves passing through,” says Reedus.
Whatever this road trip Western has in store for Daryl and Carol, The Walking Dead season 11 will not only have to close out their story on the flagship series but also set up the spinoff. The final six episodes of season 10 began to do just that by showing how the two characters had drifted apart in the aftermath of the Whisperer War. But expect this duo to put the pieces of their relationship back together in season 11 just in time for their spinoff.
Lots of Deaths
Not everyone gets a happy ending on a long-running drama, and that’s doubly true on a show like The Walking Dead which is known for killing off fan-favorite characters when you least expect it. Finales and midseason breaks have long spelled doom for characters on this series, but we have a feeling the big deaths of years’ past will pale in comparison to the bloodshed likely waiting for viewers in season 11.
Not only is this the last hoorah for The Walking Dead but there are still SO MANY characters on this show, many of which are reaching the end of their stories. It’s reasonable to assume that not all of them will make it to that final “happily ever after” montage just before the credits roll on the series finale. Get your tissues ready.
The Walking Dead season 11 premieres on Aug. 22 2021.