The post-apocalyptic world on “The Walking Dead” is about to get a whole lot bigger. Some fans of the AMC series may already know that thanks to Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels of the same name. However, those that haven’t had a chance to read the comics got a first taste of that in the Season 6 finale.
The sixth season introduced viewers to a whole new group of survivors. The Alexandria folks met the Hilltop Colony, a community similar to Alexandria in that they also have a wall to keep them safe. However, that’s where their similarities end. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his people have relied on guns and violence in order to survive, but are still struggling to feed and provide medical attention to everyone. The Hilltop Colony, on the other hand, only has handmade weapons to protect them. But what they lack in guns, they make up for in food. They have their own farm where they’re raising livestock, and even have a doctor with some medical equipment.
Rick, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and the Hilltop leader, Gregory (Xander Berkeley), butted-heads, but ultimately agreed to peacefully trade with each other — if the Alexandria survivors took out the mysterious leader of the Saviors, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The Saviors and Negan developed a reputation for bullying survivors into giving them their supplies. However, nobody knew if Negan was real because he always had his men do his dirty work for him. That’s where the Season 6 finale ended — with Negan making himself known by killing one member of Rick’s group.
“It’s the mystery and the word-of-mouth that has spread along the countryside about these people, because that’s just as much as a character point as it is meeting these guys, is hearing about them,” executive producer Greg Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly of the Saviors. “’Oh I heard there’s this guy Negan and you got to give him half your stuff or he kills somebody just to prove his point.’ You know, I think that is as interesting as actually seeing the inner workings of how these places exist.”
“Walking Dead” fans will be introduced to the world of the Saviors in Season 7. In the comics, the group lives at a large factory called The Sanctuary. A fence surrounds the building, along with a “wall” of mutilated walkers. And that won’t be the only new community added to the storyline. Viewers can’t forget that two strangers saved Morgan (Lennie James) and Carol (Melissa McBride) in the finale. The men are from another comic book community called The Kingdom. The Kingdom calls an old high school home and is run by a former zookeeper named Ezekiel. Ezekiel is a strong leader, aided by his pet tiger, Shiva.
“The nice things about this season is you will get to see some of these inner workings of these different worlds and these communities and really get a chance to see how much they know about the rest of the world,” Nicotero continued to EW. “I think that’s a really good theme for season 7, which is, nobody really know what the world has in store for them out there. So the audience, just like these people, goes through these journeys.”
The upcoming seventh season of “The Walking Dead” is already preparing to expand its universe. Four cast members — Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Tom Payne (Jesus), Austin Amelio (Dwight) and Xander Berkeley (Gregory) — were all promoted to series regulars earlier this month. Meanwhile, TV Line confirmed in April that a casting call for Ezekiel was released.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” doesn’t exactly stick to the comic books, but if they do in Season 7, a big war might be on the horizon. In the graphic novels, Rick convinces the Hilltop Colony and The Kingdom to join forces with Alexandria to stop Negan the Saviors. The survivors come together in order to win back their freedom, however, it proves to be a deadly battle for many.
“The Walking Dead” Season 7 premieres on AMC in October.