“The Walking Dead” Season 7 kicked off with Negan taking Lucille to Glenn and Abraham’s heads while Rick and the rest of his crew looked on in agony. The episodes that followed were equally bloody, which didn’t go over well with everyone tuning in.

Star Andrew Lincoln has heard those complaints, but he’s sticking by the direction the AMC series is going in. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly he admitted that there was a lot of violence and gore in the first half of Season 7, but said that it was all “a very cool buildup” to something much bigger. Lincoln explained that the violence was necessary to make viewers feel the anger, pain and need for vengeance that he and his crew were feeling after Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) came into the picture.

“I think [Scott M. Gimple, showrunner] really wanted it to feel like the audience, rather than just baying for blood, wanted justice for what had happened. And that, for me, was quite a helpful way of understanding why it had to be so immersive and so painful — certainly for all of us on set and acting in it, but also, I think, for the audience,” he told EW.

Lincoln’s statements, as well as photos and a synopsis from the second half of Season 7, suggest that it will all be worth it when the show returns. Rick (Lincoln) and his team will spend the rest of the season prepping to go to war with Negan and the saviors, but it won’t be easy. According to a synopsis released by the network, they’ll quickly realize just how much work it’s going to take to take down the “Walking Dead” villain and his cronies and will get to work on stashing the necessary supplies and building up their army. The photos show Rick and his crew planning, hunting and trying to survive.

“The second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all,” the synopsis explains. “Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was it’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose — to defeat Negan — it won’t come easy.”

“The Walking Dead” A still from Season 7B of “The Walking Dead.” Photo: AMC

A lot is unknown about what will unfold when Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” returns, but fans have a few spoilers to hold onto in the meantime. According to a report from E! Online, creator Robert Kirkman and star Norman Reedus appeared on “Talking Dead” in 2016 to share a few nuggets of information about the show. The publication reported that a lot of the conversation centered on Spencer’s (Austin Nichols) shocking death, though there was some new information revealed as well. For instance, Kirkman shared that the person in boots at the end of the midseason finale was the same person watching Rick in the boathouse. He told viewers that was going to be “a big part” of the show when it returns.

“That’s a big part of what we’re dealing with when we come back next half of the season, so we’ll be revealing that soon,” he said. “It’s going to be a great half season.”

“The Walking Dead” returns to AMC in February. Get more information about what you can expect here.