AMC is getting ready to bring fans back to the world of The Walkilng Dead, with the second-half of Season 7 debuting Sunday, February 12 at 9 PM ET. Today we have new photos from The Walking Dead Season 7 winter premiere, which feature Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Tobin (Jason Douglas) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). We also have new details about the final episodes of this season from Andrew Lincoln.
The synopsis for the mid-season premiere, entitled Rock in the Road, reveals that Rick and the group are led to a new community where they are introduced to its inhabitants and ruler, and that "a familiar face resurfaces." We have already seen in the Walking Dead clip from the midseason premiere that the new community is The Kingdom, and its ruler is King Ezekiel. As far as the "familiar face" that resurfaces, that isn't quite clear yet, but it became clear in the mid-season finale that, after bowing to Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) every demand for the first half of this season, Rick is finally ready to fight, with the help of the Hilltop and The Kingdom. Entertainment Weekly caught up with Andrew Lincoln, who had this to say about how showrunner Scott M. Gimple explained the trajectory of this season.
"Showrunner Scott M. Gimple explained it to me in one way, which I found very helpful, which was that rather than just have a very cool exciting buildup to war between between Negan and Rick, he wanted people to want more than that to really feel that they wanted justice, and then to also acknowledge the cost of what had happened and why they were willing to risk it all again while realizing that they were putting many, many, many lives back in the firing line. I think he 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."
While the show is still one of the most popular on all of television, broadcast and cable alike, the show has suffered a bit of a ratings hit, especially after the brutal Season 7 premiere, which lead viewers to file dozens of FCC complaints. This season has clearly been the most divisive, with the FCC complaints and the ratings decline, but Andrew Lincoln will gladly defend everyone involved in the show, because they're telling a challenging story. Here's what he had to say about the negative reactions to the Season 7 premiere below.
"I mean, look, that's the whole point of when you create something. It opens the discussion, doesn't it? And ultimately you have your own individual reaction, whatever it may be. And you know, obviously, you don't want it to be negative, but if you're endeavoring to make something different and unique and challenging and hopefully dangerous and new, sometimes it might provoke different reactions from people. And I stand by everybody telling this story, particularly the writers and everybody directing it. I think it's a very brave, bold, and also challenging story that we're attempting."
After the Season 7 premiere, where both Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) were killed by Negan, things didn't get much easier for the group. Fearful of losing anyone else to Negan and his barbed wire bat Lucille, Rick followed all of Negan's orders, even bowing before him at times. By the end of the mid-season finale, Rick was ready to fight again, and Andrew Lincoln even teased earlier this month that there is a moment in the season finale script that made him so excited he started punching the air and "dancing a jig." While the actor still won't reveal what this exact moment is, he revealed that the entire season will make a lot more sense once we get to the season finale.
"As I said before, people are absolutely entitled to feeling exactly what they want to feel about the show, and it's interesting the way that people view it differently now. And I know people want to watch more than one episode a week at a time just because it's kind of compulsive, the storytelling, and they want to know what happens next. And I think sometimes having to wait is a good thing because you get to recap on other things and view it in a different way. Although I would say that this season made a lot more sense once we got the last roll of film in the can for episode 716. The brilliant writers that we have take some risks, and I admire them for it. I admire anybody taking risks."
The first half of Season 7 saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group broken by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), forced to fall under his will and brutally convinced to live under his rules. The second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering the supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all. 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. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.We'll meet new survivors in incredible places. We'll see Rick and the group tested in ways we've never seen before. We'll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army. Take a look at the new photos for the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead below, along with a four-minute video recap of the first half of Season 7.