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Can ‘The Walking Dead’ Recover from Season 6 Cliffhanger? Best-Ever Season 7 Release Date, Spoilers and Potential Episode Guide

( [email protected] ) May 27, 2016 05:22 PM EDT
The Walking Dead still remains a huge show even though the ending cliffhanger of Season 6 (where we don't see who Negan kills) was practically a dealbreaker for a lot of loyal fans.  Most watchers are well-aware that the show is based on graphic novel source material that has been following the essential story, but it has been doing certain plot elements and characters differently.  Based on the graphic novel trade paperbacks, it is clear that Season 7 could really be one of the greatest seasons of the show, and possibly one of the greatest seasons of television ever.  The following is the latest news on The Walking Dead Season 7 with its release date, as well as a suggested way the episodes should go, with spoilers included.
Rick Grimes and Negan will go to war in Season 7 of "The Walking Dead" Image Comics/AMC

The Walking Dead still remains a huge show even though the ending cliffhanger of Season 6 (where we don't see who Negan kills) was practically a dealbreaker for a lot of loyal fans.  Most watchers are well-aware that the show is based on graphic novel source material that has been following the essential story, but it has been doing certain plot elements and characters differently.  Based on the graphic novel trade paperbacks, it is clear that Season 7 could really be one of the greatest seasons of the show, and possibly one of the greatest seasons of television ever.  The following is the latest news on The Walking Dead Season 7 with its release date, as well as a suggested way the episodes should go, with spoilers included.

I'm going to make two disclaimers before I talk about Season 7.  First of all, I am a fan of the comics, but I don't collect them every month, and only read the trade paperback collections when I can get a hold of them.  Second, I am not a huge fan of the show, as I don't like its colorized version of the black-and-white story that works so well on paper but not quite as well on screen.  Because I don't have cable, I haven't seen an episode of Season 6, but I have a good idea where Season 7 should go. 

Because I know the comics, I am well ahead of most TV watchers.  The issue is the TV show often changes certain things, but there is a huge storyline coming up that Season 7 had better grab a hold of.  What I'm going to propose right now is a plan for a 13-episode Season 7 of The Walking Dead that pure fans of the comics, like myself, want to see implemented.  Considering the show has about 16 seasons per season with some double-sized ones here and there, this should cover it. 

I'll state my last disclaimer saying that I'm sure the scripts for these episodes have already been written, and the show has already started filming.  Honestly, this is what The Walking Dead Season 7 should be doing, and I decided to leave the titles blank. 

Season 7, Episode 1

The season should begin with viewers seeing who gets killed.  This may or may not be a spoiler, but it is Glenn in the books.  Of course, this is a big secret, and for the sake of argument, I'm going to assume that this remains the same, and Rick is still in charge.  If so, then someone has to take the lead, and the story will progress without him, somehow. 

There is a scene in the comics where Maggie blames Rick for Glenn's death, and hits him multiple times.  Then, after she quits, Rick asks her "Why did you stop".  This scene brings tears to my eyes, and it would be horrific if it didn't survive in some form, somewhere. 

The episode should be about the aftermath of Negan, as Rick and the survivors have to go home and process this.  In the comic, Rick and his group continue to the Hilltop community where they confront Gregory about the threat of the Saviors and Maggie stays behind.  Perhaps this scene can be shown, but one scene that the comic lacked was one where Dwight and a group of Saviors attack the Alexandria community. 

I'm not certain what the plan is for Dwight on the show, but he does have his characteristic burn mark from Negan.  It would be good if the AMC series actually shows the attack on Alexandria by the 50 or so Saviors, because it happens off-panel in the comics, and it would be a good dramatic end to Episode 1. 

Season 7, Episode 2

The bulk of this episode could focus on the attack on Alexandria, and perhaps Dwight could get captured.  Again, I haven't watched Season 6, so I don't know if this is plausible in the TV series current form, but some other leader of the Saviors could get captured easily enough.  There could be a lot of stuff going on as far as side-stories here, but the ending should be victory, but then Rick saying that he wants to give in to the Saviors. 

Season 7, Episode 3

With Rick essentially deciding to surrender to the Saviors, all of the characters have to process this.  Michonne, Carl, and others have to have to go through all stages of grief.  The fact that Rick gave up in the comic was a very great moment for the series as a whole, and it should be replicated on the TV version.   This eventually leads to the ending where the Savior leader (possibly Dwight) is released, and Rick have Jesus follow him. 

Season 7, Episode 4

The episode opens with a visit from Negan, and there is enough material there to easily make a full episode out of that awkward tension.  This really focuses on Rick and the other survivors realizing that they are now reduced to being slave labor, and end it with Negan leaving, with Carl as a stowaway.

Season 7, Episode 5

Negan goes back to his factory headquarters, and Karl tries to kill him.  Instead, the two of them begin an interesting relationship.  In the meantime, Rick, after realizing that Karl is gone, searches for him.  He doesn't find him, until Jesus reports back, knowing the location of Negan's headquarters. 

Season 7, Episode 6

Rick takes to the road, on the way to Negan's place.  He soon discovers that Negan is on the way back, with Carl.  It ends with Rick getting Carl back unharmed, but it is apparent that things are eventually going to explode with these two parties.  Rick realizes that it is time to prepare for war, and this might be a good place for a mid-season respite.

Season 7, Episode 7

After Rick shares his ideas with his friends about a war, Jesus tells him about Ezekiel.  The episode is then about visiting the place called the Kingdom, where Ezekiel reigns as self-proclaimed king with a pet tiger Shiva.  Assuming this is possible, Dwight could be revealed as a double agent. 

By the way, there is a report from iDigitialTimes with a leaked script about a recurring guest star named Augustus (working name) who is a character that sounds a lot like Ezekiel.  This was confirmed on an Instagram post on National Pet Day saying that King Ezekiel and Shiva would be appearing, so it looks like the show is following this plot thread. 

Season 7, Episode 8

After returning back from seeing Ezekiel, Rick reveals to his group what he intends to do.  Many of them don't like the fact that he essentially lied to them by saying he was surrendering to Negan.  

Unfortunately, there is a hinderance as Jesus discovers that Kal, a guard at the Hilltop community, could leak the plan of the rebellion to Negan. Fortunately, Jesus is able to stop the man.  It is possible that Season 6 might have introduced Kal already, or this character might not exist in the TV continuity. 

Season 7, Episode 9

As Rick is out training a group of rebels, Negan makes a surprise visit at Alexandria.  After Negan makes a complete jerk out of himself, Rick decides that he can't take it anymore and decides to begin the rebellion right then and there, and it almost works. 

Season 7, Episode 10

Once this rebellion begins, Rick and his team regroup, and they have Negan on the run back to his headquarters.  Rick realizes that it is time to end the fight and begins the march to Negan's HQ. 

Season 7, Episode 11

The fight at Negan's headquarters goes pretty well, as Rick is able to bring in a horde of roamers to pen them in.  The problem is that Negan has troops everywhere, and they are attacking other settlements.  This is when Ezekiel loses his tiger, and other friends, and has to recover.    

Season 7, Episode 12

Negan comes to Alexandria, and he and Rick prepare to face off.  It is a tense battle, and end with the town in flames, with Negan in retreat, but still believing that he has won the day. 

Season 7, Episode 13

Rick and Negan face each other head to head, and it ends with Rick winning. The rest of the episode is dealing with the fact that Rick doesn't want to just kill Negan, but wants to set a new example for a new civilized world.   The season ends with the rest of the group reluctantly following the order, and still not certain what happened to the rest of the Saviors.  

That is a shot-on-shot adaption of The Walking Dead comic into TV series form, and if I ever TiVoed a season of television like that, I would never delete it, let me tell you. 

Of course, those are just the bullet points, and note that I barely mentioned the actual walking dead on The Walking Dead Season 7.  However, in reading the graphic novel story with the Negan war story, the reader is barely reminded that this takes place in a world full of zombies.  The emphasis was always the man against man instead of man against undead.  Generally, the show has tons of scenes that often feel shoehorned in where the group finds all kinds of creative ways to kill roamers with items found around your home, so expect that.

Also, I did not mention fan favorite Daryl Dixon!  That is because he is not in the comic.  Surely the writers in Hollywood have something for him to do, and Den of Geek reveals that there is going to be a lot of backstory revealed about Negan that isn't in the comic.  Negan is a villain who is so evil that audiences love to hate him, but at the same time he has this strange since of morality that generates sympathy as well. 

If you agree or disagree with me on what will happen in Season 7 of The Walking Dead, feel free to leave a comment below.  I suppose we will all find out in the fall on AMC if all of the predictions that I have made about The Walking Dead Season 7 will come to pass.  If they do, consider yourself spoiled.