Rick & Negan Will Share the Spotlight in Walking Dead Season 7
Later tonight, AMC's hit spinoff Fear the Walking Dead returns to kick off the back half of their second season, which will lead into the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday, October 21. Last week, we showed you the first clip from the new season, which teased that the beloved Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) may have been killed off, since the nefarious Dwight (Austin Amelio) was seen riding Daryl's motorcycle and wearing his iconic angel wings vest, which Daryl is rarely seen without. While we'll have to wait until October to see what happened to Daryl, and who Negan's victim may be, executive producer/director Greg Nicotero shed new light on this season.
The show debuted the first trailer at Comic-Con last month, where they also announced that the Season 7 premiere will air on October 21. This footage gave us our first look at King Ezekiel and his tiger Shiva. It is believed that fans will meet this character early on this season, and the rest of his survivor's colony dubbed The Kingdom. Deadline had the chance to speak with Greg Nicotero, who revealed that things will get much worse for Rick and company, before it gets better, and that Rick will "share the spotlight" with Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan.
"I think it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better for our group, and it's pretty intense. I mean, the show, we're sort of opening a new chapter. I mean, it's really, Rick is now, if you really think about his journey in the comic books, he shares the spotlight with Negan in the comic book. Negan now has some ownership over what the show is about. It's the anticipation and the excitement of new worlds that we're going to, like the Hilltop, like the Kingdom, like the Sanctuary where Negan lives. Everybody's putting so much of their heart and soul into it. You know, after directing the premiere episode, I was f***ed up for two weeks, you know? I really felt like I dragged a lot of my dearest friends into these really deep, dark places shooting that episode, and it's been definitely an experience unlike anything that I've ever handled before."
In the Season 6 finale, fans were introduced to Negan, who picked one member of Rick's group at random and killed them with his baseball bat dubbed Lucille. To avoid any potential leaks or spoilers, the show shot death scenes for all 11 characters who were lined up by Negan, and we likely won't know who this victim will be until the Season 7 premiere. Here's what Greg Nicotero had to say about fans who were upset about this cliffhanger.
"Let me just say, a very small percentage of our fans were upset. You look at the 20 million viewers, and the people that were upset, they were upset because they cared, because they want to know. I still believe that the story that we're telling warranted that cliffhanger, and I think if we would have showed who Negan killed in the end of that episode, it wouldn't have had the same impact, because people were expecting it. Everybody knew that Negan was going to kill someone. It's one of the best episodes I feel like I've ever directed, because I was able to capture that sense of dread and fear that Rick Grimes felt. Rick has never felt fear, and you never see him scared in the entire series until that episode."
The Walking Dead will kick off Season 7 on Sunday, October 23 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. As in previous seasons, the show's seventh season of 16 episodes will air in two parts, with the first eight episodes kicking off October 23 and the final eight returning February 2017. Following The Walking Dead will be the season premieres of AMC's Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist), at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, and Comic Book Men at midnight ET/PT. Internationally, The Walking Dead will return on FOX channels to audiences in 125+ markets within 24 hours of the U.S. premiere, as part of FOX's continued commitment to broadcast the series near day-and-date globally. Stay tuned for more on The Walking Dead as we continue the countdown to Season 7.