We all have our favorite characters on "The Walking Dead," but the series has always followed Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). He's our guide, he's our guy. Even when Rick is off screen for episodes at a time, the story still circles him like the sun. But things have changed. Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is here, and to make the point that he has basically taken over Rick's world, and dethroned The Ricktator, Rick has to suck it up and share his own TV show with his nemesis.
TWD producer/director Greg Nicotero talked to Deadline about what's ahead in Season 7:
"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*cked 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."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan previously told Entertainment Weekly that Season 7 would mark "a reset on 'The Walking Dead' world. It's f*cking Negan's world now."
Morgan continued to EW, "What you're going to see in the first half of this season is Negan wreaking havoc. And some of your characters that you've grown to love are not going to be on the show anymore, and it's going to end badly for them. It's going to be a whole new beginning for 'The Walking Dead.' Really, we've taken the show and just flipped it upside down. It's a different show now. It's going to have a different feeling. You're going to see your favorite characters in a position that they've never been in before, which is super vulnerable and victimized."
We've seen Rick as The Ricktator; as a sobbing, delusional mess after the death of his wife; and in more stable places in between. But even when he was locked up in Terminus, he was never a victim. Is that what he'll be in Season 7, if Negan is now the one in charge? Will fans see Rick on his knees, instead of snarling that Negan is f*cking with the wrong people?
AMC's first photos for Season 7 don't include Rick at all -- we see new character Ezekiel, Morgan, Carol, Jesus, and Negan, but no Rick. The first sneak peek shows Dwight wearing Daryl's vest. No reference to Rick. The Comic-Con trailer barely includes Rick, he's just part of "our group" facing Negan's bat, and the rest of the action follows other characters. He's been pushed out of his own show. (Shane never would've let that happen. Just saying.)
"The Walking Dead" Season 7 premieres Sunday, October 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.
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