New York Comic Con attendees got a first look on Saturday at a new preview of The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere, and the intense clip may just change a few theories on all the damage new baddie Negan unleashes on Rick Grimes and his group.
The video begins immediately after the brutal, and oh-so-gory, murder by Negan of a member of Rick’s group. We know, because when Negan shoves the bat in Rick’s face, it’s still dropping with the blood of… someone.
“I’m gonna kill you,” a devastated Rick calmly promises Negan. “Not today, not tomorrow… but I’m gonna kill you.”
Negan isn’t afraid of Rick, though. In fact, he takes the opportunity to toy with him even further — in a scene that features Emmy-caliber performances by both Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Negan talks about his “right-hand man,” and guesses that maybe he just killed Rick’s.
Maybe he just killed Rick’s right-hand man… is that a clue about the first victim of Negan and Lucille? Is it definitely a male character?
Other possible clues about the Negan-caused devastation in the Season 7 premiere:
* There’s a blood splatter on the right side of Rick’s face, which likely means Negan (and Lucille’s) victim (or victims) was to Rick’s right. Those who are situated to his right in the semicircle of doom: Maggie, Abraham, Michonne, Daryl, Rosita, and Glenn.
* After procuring a hatchet from his “right-hand man,” Negan drags Rick like a rag doll to his camper. While most fans feel certain Rick isn’t killed in the premiere, that doesn’t mean all his body parts remain intact. In one of The Walking Dead comic book’s most iconic Rick moments, he loses his hand when The Governor cuts it off (in issue 28). Cast and crew of the show have always maintained it would be tough to have Rick lose his hand in the series because of the CGI work that would be necessary to pull that off with an action-prone leading man, but a) they figured out how to make Hershel’s MIA leg work in Season 3, and b) they figured out how to make a CGI tiger — Ezekiel’s Shiva — for Season 7, so maybe Rick’s appendage isn’t safe after all.
* Listen to the audio carefully. When Negan is talking to Simon, the aforementioned right-hand man, about the ax, he says, “What’d he have, a knife?”
“He had a hatchet,” Simon says.
A little later, Negan tells Simon, “Sure, give me his ax.”
Whose ax/hatchet? Who is the “he” they are referring to? Is “he” the person who was just slaughtered by Negan? Is that then confirmation that the victim is a “he,” and therefore definitely not Maggie (who was to Rick’s immediate right), Michonne, or Rosita?
* A pan down to the ground after Negan tosses Rick into his camper reveals a blanket, a huge bloody mess, and other pieces of what we assume is human remains. Let’s not focus on that last part, and instead focus on the blanket… in the Season 6 finale, Daryl had a blanket wrapped around him.
* During the NYCC panel, after EP/director/special effects expert Greg Nicotero mentioned the Season 7 finale will be the series’ 99th episode, star Lauren Cohan became very emotional. Understandably, she could simply have been reacting to the accomplishment of the close-knit cast in making to nearly 100 episodes. Or perhaps she’s thinking about the character who dies in the premiere… who could be someone very close to her Maggie?
Of course, with, mercifully, just two weeks left until the season premiere, and what showrunner Scott Gimple promised during the NYCC TWD panel will be the reveal of who Negan killed, these could all be red herrings meant to help fans wile away the time until at least one of the most beloved members of Rick’s post-apocalyptic family is no more.
The Walking Dead Season 7 premieres Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.