Now that "The Walking Dead" Season 7 has put THAT brutal premiere behind it, the focus on the rest of the season is slightly more positive. Slightly. Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) has been using the same analogy -- possibly fed to him from The Powers That Be -- to tease what's ahead in his character's quickly expanding world:

"The way forward from here," Lincoln told the New York Post, "the glib advertising version that I'm allowed to tell you ... is that this is more 'Lord of the Rings' than 'Lord of the Flies' this season."

What does he mean by that? Probably the hope of a Council of Elrond-like gathering of disparate communities, a "Fellowship of the Walker Apocalypse" aligning to defeat the common enemy of Sauron Negan.We already know Hilltop is a semi-ally, although the "very slippery" leader -- Gregory -- is going to be "incredibly worried" about the fallout of Team Alexandria's massive defeat. He basically aligned with Rick's group to take out the Saviors and that did not happen, so he's going to worry about his own safety. But Jesus is less of a coward, and he's there, too. And Maggie is on her way, and she's not likely to let a single thing stand in her way of taking down Negan.This Sunday, October 30 we'll also visit the survivor community of The Kingdom, led by King Ezekiel, who -- yes -- has his own tiger. The guy is unique, but in the "Walking Dead" comic book, he and Jesus are friends, and the Kingdom is an ally of Hilltop, and becomes an ally of Alexandria. In the comic, the three communities combine forces to fight the Saviors in what's called "All Out War."Andrew Lincoln previously teased the All Out War storyline, whether for Season 7 or (probably) not, saying, "And if we follow the comic book, then there's a super badass conflict between Negan and us, and I think that's certainly something that I think will trump anything we've attempted before in the show."

But before getting to that, we need to gather everyone together, "Lord of the Rings" style. Not sure who is meant to be Frodo, Gandalf, Legolas, Boromir, Gimli, Aragorn, Elrond, etc., but right now we're willing to give Maggie the Frodo power, with her (benign) ring of power being her unborn baby and desire for revenge for Glenn.

Lincoln talked to The Hollywood Reporter about Maggie's chances of surviving this ordeal, and he tied it to the larger story ahead:

"I think her tenacity and first reaction after losing the love of her life is incredibly powerful and it reverberates: We fight. We're very fortunate in our show that we have writers that really write well for all of our characters — particularly the women, which thrills me. All of these characters have been shattered by this event and every one of them will react in their own individual and personal way. This show is about hope. It may not feel like it sometimes — it may feel like it's about grief, tragedy and trauma but it is ultimately about hope. The thing about Rick and that family is they've been through so much pain and tragedy, but they still have that connection between them. The only glimmer of light in a dark episode is when Rick says to Maggie, 'He's our family too.' That's a key insight into where the rest of the season is headed."

The "family" is coming for you, Negan. Maybe not today or tomorrow. But war is coming.

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