Warning: This article contains potential Walking Dead Season 7 spoilers.
The Walking Dead Season 7 will air its much-anticipated premiere in exactly one week, finally revealing which character or characters Negan (Jeffrey Dead Morgan) killed in the Season 6 finale. However, fans were given an early gift on Sunday night when AMC announced the zombie apocalypse series has been renewed for an eighth season.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the renewal was announced at the beginning of a special two-hour Walking Dead retrospective of the megahit’s first six seasons. The eighth season, which will feature 16 episodes, will begin with the show’s 100th episode and premiere in late 2017.
In a statement about the renewal, AMC head Charlie Collier playfully referenced Walking Dead villain Negan’s threat to his kneeling victims in the Season 6 finale.
“Eeny, meeny, miny, more. What a joy to partner with Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple and some of the hardest-working people in television to bring The Walking Dead to the fans. And, most important, thanks to those fans for breathing life into this remarkable series right along with us.”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 17, 2016
In the six months since the Season 6 finale aired, fans have been clamoring to find out who Negan walloped on the head with his barb-wired baseball bat, Lucille. For months, rumors have been floating around that the villain takes out not just one, but two main characters in the Season 7 premiere.
The theory seemed to be confirmed when Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero used the word “deaths” while talking to Entertainment Weekly about fan complaints over the Season 6 finale.
“I’d say in retrospect, I don’t think we could have changed anything. I would have still supported doing it the way we did it, because of the fact that the story doesn’t end there. If we would have shown the deaths, then they wouldn’t have felt our characters in Season 7 the way the need to.”
Nicotero also hinted that the deaths would alter the direction of the series.
“The thing that I think a lot of people will get out of it is how that moment changes the entire make-up of our universe with a split second. And it’s that moment that launches our entire Season 7 into that direction.”
As if that didn’t sound ominous enough, Jeffrey Dean Morgan also appeared to reveal a major Walking Dead Season 7 spoiler when he told Den of Geek Negan is an efficient killer.
“Negan’s not just going to kill one person in [the premiere]. He’s not afraid of bashing skulls.”
The actor went on to say the premiere, entitled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” is “more than violent, it’s gut-wrenching.”
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) October 17, 2016
“I’ll be interested to see how the fans handle it,” Morgan said. “It’s going to be a lot more than people are expecting. You’re about to see someone that you love just f—–g take it.”
As sobering is that is, Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly that fans will be blown away by the storyline and performances in Walking Dead Season 7.
“There are some unbelievable moments and performances that’ve come out of the fog and the haze and the post-traumatic stress of the actual moment that set the stage for the entire season,” he said.
Nicotero said that the cast went to “some insane places emotionally” when filming the Season 7 premiere.
“I thought it would be easy to come in starting where we left off… Boy, I was wrong,” he recalled. “I know when we were finished, it took me a couple of weeks to recover.”
The Walking Dead Season 7 premieres Sunday, Oct. 23, at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. It will be followed by a 90-minute Talking Dead special, which will be broadcast live from the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
[Featured image via AMC]