THE WALKING DEAD Season 7 Premiere is “Tough and Pretty Graphic and Horrible;” Season 7 Synopsis Arrives
Season six of hit zombie drama The Walking Dead saw Alexandria – the walled-off community occupied by our band of survivors – enter a trade agreement with neighboring community the Hilltop, with Jesus (Tom Payne) serving as ambassador for the small farming camp. Payne, who was recently promoted to series regular for the upcoming seventh season, spoke with Express.co.uk, sharing with the site that the season premiere – which will finally reveal the victim that newcomer villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) began to brutally beat to death in April’s season six closer – will kick off with the biggest point of momentum for the entire season, but it won’t be pretty.
“The beginning of next season is going to be very tough and pretty graphic and horrible,” he warned. “But it sets up the whole season, it’s the beginning of the whole next story, it sets up Negan, this awful, awful person and the things that he is capable of doing. And that sets up the challenge for season seven and I recognize you probably could have done that at the end of season six but I think it’s going to be a really great opener.” Those thoughts are in line with similar comments made by showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who maintains there’s a story reason for the cliffhanger that will make sense come the bow of the new season on October 23rd. “I ask people to give us the benefit of the doubt that it’s all part of a plan, all part of a story. I truly hope that people see [the season 7 premiere] and they feel it justifies the way we’ve decided to tell the story,” Gimple said in April. “That is the way it is in our minds. I know what [the season 7 premiere] is and I feel that it delivers on what [the season 6 finale] sets up.”
Added Payne, “Unfortunately, I think a lot of people who are wishing for the death and wishing that they had seen it, I think after the first episode they might wish they hadn’t wished for it because it’s going to be very brutal and a huge downer. At that point you hate Negan and you want him defeated.” Payne’s newest sentiments echo those of Morgan, who earlier this month similarly warned audiences of what’s in store: “I can’t stress enough that if you were one of those people who were like, ‘Oh, f–king cliffhanger…’ You’re gonna be really, really wishing that the cliffhanger had never ended after the first episode back. So, be careful what you wish for,” he teased. It’s expected that Negan’s victim of choice will be a major character who’s been around for a long time – and while we both anticipate and dread the upcoming premiere (and with a spot or two vacated by the recently deceased), there will be more room for the newer additions to grow.
“I think Jesus will become, hopefully, an integral part of the group,” Payne adds. “He has a lot of skills, which I think are useful for the group and he is quite a calm sort of person and he’s also very capable, which you’ll definitely see more of in season seven. Rick’s group reached a point where they were quite desperate and considered the world to be a certain way and how you had to operate within it. I think Jesus operates in that world in a separate way, which could be beneficial to their situation.”
Additionally, AMC has released the official synopsis for season seven:
Up until this point, our characters have lived through conflicts… Disease, hunger, scores of the undead, tragedy, betrayal, and unthinkable loss. Through this, they’ve become formidable. Powerful. Unstoppable.
To start Season Seven, that power is taken away. They had found safety and stability. They had created a home. They thought the world was theirs. They thought they knew the world. They were wrong.
The first half of Season Seven sees our group fractured, broken, bereaved, and picking up the pieces while living under the thumb of oppression. Negan will have successfully brought the survivors under his control, brutally convincing them to live under his rules with a deadly and horrific example of what happens if they don’t.
Other characters are unaware of what’s happened, but have become separated from the group either by incident or choice — they will learn that they can’t escape this new turn of their world, either. This half season is about these characters starting over.
The overall theme of the season is beginning again. The world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s bigger and it’s even more dangerous.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 23rd.