We'll start off with one of the big things we know about The Walking Dead's fifth season, as does anyone who's seen the many trailers and video teases AMC has released: Rick Grimes and his crew make it out of that Terminus train car we saw them imprisoned in at the end of Season 4.
But the story isn't that simple — things never are in the zombie apocalypse — and busting out of one bad spot will only leave the gang free to wander into the next one. Yep, again, that's life with the walkers (and the frequently even more frightening other humans).
Here are 13 more things we know so far about Season 5, which premieres Oct. 12:
1. Season 4 ended on a cliffhanger, with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew locked in train car A by Terminus leader Gareth (Andrew J. West) and viewers suspicious the Terminians were literally dining out on their victims. The action-packed Season 5 premiere provides answers to all questions fans have about Terminus and its citizenry.
2. All that fuss about Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) possibly being outed? It's not likely to happen this season, as TWD creator Robert Kirkman said it may be addressed when there's a "quiet period" in the show's action, and that is not likely to be any time in Season 5.
Meanwhile, Reedus told GQ magazine there have been a lot of discussions about Daryl's sexual preference and status, and they began with original TWD showrunner Frank Darabont. "I do like the extremity of him perhaps being a virgin.Y ou know, a virgin is interesting," Reedus told GQ. "I remember Frank Darabont, after the first season, we were at a party in L.A. He said, 'I've got an idea for Daryl. He's gay. Would you be interested in that?' I was like, 'Let me hear you out.' He said, 'Well, he's prison gay — like, you'll catch him looking at a member of the same sex, but if you mention it to him, he'll just stab you and be like 'What the f---?' — he will never admit it.' I was like, 'That'll blow minds — let's do that.' And he said, 'I knew I hired you for a reason.'"
3. Expect new levels of violence in Season 5. There's a scene at the beginning of the season premiere that had us covering our eyes and ears — the sound of the violence is as affecting as the visuals — and it's a scene teased in that Comic-Con trailer released last summer. As Reedus told GQ, "The creative ways that they come with… it's kind of mind-blowing… there's some new stuff that's like, I never would have thought of. It's pretty hardcore."
4. Star Andrew Lincoln told Men's Fitness magazine the Season 5 storyline is the "most frightening" so far. "You never know who's going to die. And that's sure true this season. I mean, it's already pretty intense, and now it's moving into Heart of Darkness territory. Yeah! I may be gone this season." While we seriously doubt Rick Grimes is going away anytime soon, there is at least one major character death ahead this season, and it may be teased in the season premiere.
5. There will be new storylines and characters introduced in Season 5, with a mix of themes from the Walking Dead comics and some created just for the series. And then there are some storylines and characters inspired by the comics, but with the TV series' writers putting a fresh spin on them, a la Season 4's Rick Grimes/Claimers storyline that was inspired by the comic book storyline with Rick — and Abraham — and the Marauders.
6. One of the new characters who comes directly from the comics: Father Gabriel Stokes, who will be played by Seth Gilliam, TWD's third cast member who's also an alum of The Wire (along with Chad Coleman and Lawrence Gilliard).
In the comics, Stokes is a priest who offers Rick and his group shelter at his church, but who also, of course, turns out to be a more complicated guy. We know, from set photos, Stokes will be a priest on the TV show, but little else has been revealed about his storyline. Interestingly, Gilliam told EW.com he read only one issue of the comic — number 61, in which Stokes is introduced — but binge-watched Seasons 1-4 of the show to get into a Walking Dead frame of mind.
7. Another new Season 5 character, one who does not come directly from the comic books: Noah, who will be played by Everybody Hates Chris star Tyler James Williams. Little is known about the character, like when he'll be introduced and for how long he'll appear on the show, but if you watch the Comic-Con trailer very closely, at the end, when Beth is seen fleeing from what appears to be a medical facility, she's followed by a guy who looks an awful lot like Williams.
PS: Clearly, someone at TWD is a fan of the cancelled-too-soon Everybody Hates Chris, since last season included a guest gig by Chris co-star Vincent Martella as Patrick. Does this mean we should go ahead and bank on Terry Crews being cast as Negan?
8. Speaking of Beth: She's alive! That was the biggest reveal from the Comic-Con trailer, although she doesn't appear to be in a happy place. She also may not be reunited with her friends immediately… if ever.
9. There are some moments of pure joy ahead when it comes to reunions, though, including one in the Season 5 premiere that can only be described as warm and fuzzy.
10. The season premiere is titled "No Sanctuary," followed by "Strangers," "Four Walls and a Roof," and "Slabtown" as Episodes 2, 3, and 4, which will find Rick and company taking some big risks when their supplies run low, and meeting up with new groups of survivors who will pose new dangers.
11. Season 5 will mark the first time many of the characters will spend significant time together, and adding to that stressful dynamic is the fact that they'll also be on the road again and that some of them have conflicting agendas. Abraham and Rosita are committed to getting Eugene to Washington to work on the zombie cure he claims he knows about, for instance, but that doesn't mean everyone else will be ready to hoof it to our nation's capital.
12. Some of us loved those standalone, character backstory episodes from the second half of Season 4, others, not so much. Since the group will be traveling together much of the season, there will be fewer opportunities for installments focusing on just one or two characters in Season 5, but showrunner Scott Gimple says there will be splinters of groups who will lead to some deep-dive storytelling.
13. One more three-word hint about the season premiere, which episode director Greg Nicotero joked to Yahoo TV last summer was like a "big gigantic movie that almost killed me": Flying. Zombie. Flambé.
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres Sunday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. on AMC.