'The Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, And Scott M. Gimple On Negan, New Elements, And Big Changes

The second half of The Walking Dead season 6 premieres on Sunday night. It has been a while since viewers last saw Rick's group and the Alexandrians. What can TWD fans expect when the zombie series returns to AMC? According to showrunner Scott M. Gimple, there will be new elements and big changes. Also expect answers to certain questions, including what Rick's group will do with their power and knowledge. Robert Kirkman and Greg Nicotero also discussed The Walking Dead midseason premiere, Negan, and the Alexandrians.

On Wednesday, the first four minutes of The Walking Dead season 6, episode 9 was released. The preview clip for the episode titled "No Way Out" shows Sasha, Abraham and Daryl Dixon faced with danger and uncertainty. The TWD trio is stopped on a road by a group of men with motorcycles and guns. It is quickly revealed that the men are Negan's goons. The man in charge is not playing around. By the conclusion of the four-minute preview clip for The Walking Dead season 6, he has a gun aimed at both Sasha and Abraham.

As viewers remember from the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, walkers filled the streets of Alexandria. Rick and some others waded through the zombie herd, covering themselves with blood and guts of the undead. Back in The Walking Dead season 1, episode 2, viewers saw this same tactic. It allowed Glenn and Rick to walk among the dead without being recognized as a living being. At least until it started raining and the walker blood washed away.
So, was The Walking Dead midseason finale the end of Alexandria? Not according to the creator of TWD. Last month, he said the group will return to Alexandria to rebuild the community.

"This isn't the prison, and 'Oh, we gotta move on from here and find another place,'" Robert Kirkman explained to Entertainment Weekly. "This is something different. And from there, there will be other things that expand their world in new and terrifying ways."

On The Walking Dead, many of the residents of Alexandria were there since the zombie apocalypse began. Hidden behind walls and safe from outside threats, both human and dead, the Alexandrians were safe. They don't realize what the outside world is like. The few who were recruiters or runners have a bit of an idea. However, being out in the new world for a few days or even weeks is nothing compared to living in it. So, how will the Alexandrians deal with the new world? What will the theme be for the second half of The Walking Dead season 6?

"Rick's group has an extremely deep knowledge base and skill set on how to survive that a lot of people [at Alexandria] don't have," Scott M. Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter. "The second half, we answer the question: What do they do with that power? What is their responsibility? How can they create a future?"

Obviously, their future will be put on hold or have some complications. In October, 2015, The Walking Dead issued a casting notice for a character named "Orin." He was described as a brutal, ferocious and imposing sociopath that was also hilarious and charismatic. The TWD casting notice also noted that Orin was a leader and killer who would debut on The Walking Dead season 6 finale. Many fans speculated that Orin was actually Negan.

"I can neither confirm nor deny," Scott M. Gimple told TV Line when asked if the TWD casting notice was for Negan. "It's not the worst guess in the world. It's difficult to get around your logic here."

Fans were correct and in November, 2015, it was confirmed by The Hollywood Reporter. Negan was jumping from The Walking Dead comic books to the television series. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was chosen to play the villain of all villains and will first appear on The Walking Dead season 6, episode 16.

The back half of The Walking Dead season 6 will have new elements and big changes. At its core, expect to see some optimism and hope. At the same time, the group faces uncertainty and danger.

"We're now coming upon a group of people who are formidable [Negan and the Saviors] and somebody that Rick is not going to be able to take care of as easily as he did with the people at Grady Memorial, Terminus or the Governor's group," Greg Nicotero told The Hollywood Reporter. "This is a whole other animal and we're taking the show in a whole other direction."

The Walking Dead season 6, episode 9 premieres on February 14 on AMC.

[Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images]