Well, so much for TV series ending while they’re on top. The Walking Dead season 7 will be airing its finale episode on April 2, 2017. However, the show is nowhere even close to the end of its own story. According to showrunner Scott M. Gimple, the season 7 end is only the beginning.
Right now, we’ve got one heck of a set-up for the all-out war that The Walking Dead comics fans might be familiar with. Rick Grimes and company are taking maters into their own hands. By forging alliances between different factions and groups, they hope to muster enough strength to challenge Negan and his saviors. From Alexandria to the Kingdom, all hands are on deck. Even Carol – who’s been nearly a non-factor this whole season – looks ready to jump back into the fray.
What can we expect from the finale?
The End Of A Chapter
Everyone remembers the season 6 finale, where Negan bludgeoned a character to death – and then left viewers hanging as to whom it was. The finale drew plenty of anger and irritation from fans, while spawning a massive number of theories and analysis online. It wasn’t until season 7 premiered that viewers finally witnessed the deaths of Abraham and Glenn. And even then, they needed to wait half an episode.
Gimple promises that the season 7 finale will bring no such cliffhangers. At Paleyfest 2017, he had this to say about the upcoming finale:
“The end of the season is very much the end of a chapter. It’s very much a conclusion that promises the epic story ahead. It’s about setting up this giant, epic tale to come, not only in season 8, but beyond.”
So, when we do see Negan’s and Rick’s armies collide – a moment that Gimple also described as “quantum intense” – we’re likely to see some kind of conclusion before the season wraps up. In the comics, Rick manages to take Negan in – alive – as a prisoner. It’s unclear whether the series will diverge from this storyline.
A Hundred Down, A Hundred More
It’s notable that season 7’s finale, The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life, is The Walking Dead‘s 99th episode. That would make the first episode of season 8 the 100th episode.
But rather than signaling the end of the show, Gimple notes, “It’s more about setting up the next 100 episodes.”
Does The Walking Dead have the staying power to hit 200 episodes (about 14 seasons)? The comics remain a strong source material, and the showrunners can always blaze their own “epic tale”, as Scott M. Gimple calls it. So time will certainly tell.
Meanwhile, hold on to your hats, your guns, and your barbwire-wrapped baseball bats: War is coming.