Editor’s Note: This article contains HUGE spoilers for The Walking Dead season 6 and the on-going comic book series.
New threats come to Alexandria and Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead season 6. As we did in the past with The Hunters and the Alexandria Safe-Zone, we’re going to dig into the later adventures of Rick Grimes to figure out just what might happen in the first half of season 6 and beyond!
(A little bit of housekeeping: Note that Deanna Monroe is the TV series’ version of Douglas Monroe, the leader of Alexandria. We’re going to replace Douglas with Deanna in this section just to keep things less confusing.)
First of all, what storylines should you take a look at? Season 5 really focused on “Fear the Hunters” (#61-66), “Life Among Them” (#67-72), and “Too Far Gone” (#73-78). The introduction of The Wolves and the deaths of Reg Monroe and Pete at the end of the season 5 finale lead really well into the final moments of the latter story arc, which will undoubtedly take up the first couple episodes of the season.
The Wolves (or “The Scavengers” in the comics) are an immediate threat, attacking while everyone in Alexandria is mourning the deaths of their loved ones. More and more, Deanna is starting to realize that Rick’s way is better for the community than her diplomatic approach. She’s considering handing over power to him, and the assault on Alexandria only helps Rick’s case.
Derek, the leader of the Wolves, arrives at the gates of Alexandria with his very creepy rendition of The Three Little Pigs:
For a moment there, it looks like the Wolves will outnumber and outsmart the battle-hardened portion of the community (basically just Rick and his pre-Alexandria group), as a sniper threatens to shoot Rick down during his talk with Derek at the gate. Of course, the tables are turned when Andrea (yea, she’s still alive in the comics!) shoots down the sniper and Derek. (I’m guessing they’ll use Sasha in Andrea’s stead?) Rick and friends dispatch the rest of the Wolves pretty easily.
Deanna realizes that she can’t defend Alexandria and that Rick should be the new leader. The Safe-Zone seems safe and in better hands…for now. Like we said, these events will probably take up the first 2-3 episodes of season 6.
Turn the page to the next storyline, “No Way Out” (#79-84). Things get a lot worse for the community, as the gunshots from the last battle attract a huge horde of walkers to the gates. Abraham leads a group outside the gates to dispatch the initial horde, but the numbers soon grow overwhelming. The devastation is not unlike the fall of the Prison. The walkers break down the gate and get into the community, devouring everyone in their path. It is a full-scale zombie invasion like we’ve never seen. Things look especially bad for Tobin, Deanna, Jessie, and Morgan, who has just made his long trek to Alexandria in the first place. Fear the worst.
We have to quickly discuss the very controversial events of The Walking Dead #83, in which Deanna shoots Carl’s eye out during her last stand in the walker invasion. It’s a case of friendly fire that almost does away with Rick’s son for good. We are left with this panel, unsure whether Carl will survive:
We’d say “No Way Out” will take up most the first half of the season, if history and the comic books are anything go by. One half of a Walking Dead season has always been a bit more action-packed than the other, especially in seasons 2, 4, and 5, so it won’t be surprising if the first few episodes of season 6 tackle both the Wolves and the zombie horde. Either way, Alexandria has a pretty rough road ahead.
If Gimple and friends decide to condense some of this stuff, making the Wolves attack the opening section of the season and closing the midseason with the zombie invasion, we may even get glimpses of “We Find Ourselves” (#85-90) and “A Larger World” (#91-96) in which the next big bad is introduced. In fact, that character has already been cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan will play Negan, who will appear at some point at the tail end of the season.
And there’s more casting news, too. Both Tom Payne (Luck) and Xander Berkeley’s (24) casting in season 6 would seem to elude to at least a brief mention of the Hilltop Colony by midseason’s end. Without getting too bogged down, the Hilltop County is another community of survivors in the area that pretty much sets up the next big confrontation in the series. We know that Payne is playing Paul “Jesus” Monroe, a recruiter for Hilltop, and that Berkeley will appear in an undisclosed role in the latter half of season 6 with a possibility of becoming a regular in season 7.
If our speculation is correct, then Berkeley is almost definitely playing Gregory, the antagonistic leader of Hilltop. After all, during the casting call, Berkeley’s character (known as “Rich” in the announcement), was described as “narcissistic, egotistical, quick to braggadocio and anger, his own skin is his principal concern. He feeds off the superiority of being in control, but he plays it off with Senator-like charm. He’s vibrant, and has the charisma of a car salesman.” This sounds very much like Gregory to us.
Paul and Gregory’s inclusion in the series draws an almost clear path in our heads: Alexandria will go through its trials in the first half of season 6, which will end with an introduction to Paul, who will recruit them after midseason to travel up to the Hilltop Colony eventually. Once at Hilltop, Rick and friends will be thrust into a much bigger conflict than they’ve ever faced against a group called the Saviors, led by the book’s most infamous villain, Negan. If you think the Governor was bad, wait ’til you get a load of this guy…
We won’t go into too much more detail about that, especially since this is meant to be more of a guide/set of predictions for the first half of season 6 only. Showrunner Scott Gimple and friends will undoubtedly throw us a few curveballs along the way.
Speaking of curveballs, you’ll also notice that we’ve not mentioned much about the Rick vs. Morgan conflict that AMC has been teasing in most of season 6’s promotional material. Why are we ignoring what seems to be the most obvious conflict in the first half of the season? Simple: there’s no basis for it in the comics. In fact, Morgan’s story is a bit different in the books. There is no zen ninja Morgan, and in fact, he’s quite a bit more unstable in the books than the show’s portrayal. Take that how you will.
How do you think The Walking Dead season 6 will pan out in terms of story? Please tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Stay tuned for our weekly reviews of The Walking Dead season 6! And don’t forget to listen to the new episode of our weekly Walking Dead podcast, Den of Geek Presents No Room in Hell: