Before the panels were shown and fans got the privilege of asking the cast questions they were just eager to ask, "The Walking Dead" released the official trailer for the first part of season eight, commonly known as season 8A. The trailer was vague, and slow, but towards the middle it picked up with heavy action of that of a- well, action film. The number of explosions included, guns aimed, and altercations may not seem like much information, but comic readers know already that it just sets up an angst filled and anticipated launch into the “All Out War” comic story line. What I found interesting, however, was not the trailer itself on first watch, but the hints that it gives in the montage. Since the clips are too quick, however, some details go unseen, and those details are exactly the ones that comic readers should be looking out for.
Although the following bullets are based on what happens in the comics (and as a result, deserve a heavy spoiler warning), these predictions are just that- predictions, and should be taken with a grain of salt, because as more information is leaked and revealed, many predictions are subject to change. With that said, let’s get to it!
The trailer opens up on Negan talking to Father Gabriel, who appears to be held captive. I would assume that this is as a result of another raid on Sanctuary where Gabriel is taken as hostage, or as a result of the war itself. Both have an equal chance of happening at this point, and there is little information to steer this in any particular direction.
From then on, the screen goes black, and the audience is greeted with a montage of all the communities gathering and preparing for war. In the shots, each community is wearing a different arm band. A popular theory among social media is that each arm band has a color associated to their assigned community: white for Alexandria, green for Hilltop, orange for Kingdom. While this idea is effective, it may not be the smartest when it comes to attacking an enemy location. For instance, if Gabriel has the white arm band on his arm during a small raid on Sanctuary (hypothetically speaking, of course), Negan would know who sent who. It does help to differentiate enemies from allies, but like any other system, there are risks.
By now, it is safe to say 8A will be centered around preparing the All Out War comic arc, and infiltrating the Savior’s Sanctuary. The
The next few minutes in the trailer are centered around Rick giving a speech to the communities. There are small clips one after another, some of which are more odd than anything. We do see Carl on his own, inspecting cars. All of Carl's scenes in the trailer look to be away from actual war territory, but there is a scene that is speculated, but not confirmed, to be Carl. The scene in which someone is tied up leaves us to wonder who exactly it is, but the character wears a plaid shirt in said clip. That can narrow it down to two characters: Carl or Aaron. While Aaron is in the middle of war, Carl is often shown alone, and so it is likely that Carl may be the one to be taken hostage.
The action finally peaks at the three minute mark, and thus where the real “Easter eggs” start to make an appearance.
Morgan and Jesus are seen fighting in the middle of the woods, and many fans think that this might be some sort of altercation within the allies. Although there is not information, it is hard to imagine that Jesus and Morgan, two men who are on good terms with Rick and have better people they could waste energy on, would waste time fighting in the woods. That being said, Morgan has had his past of not being emotionally stable,so it is not entirely out of character for him to have doubts about newcomers despite already knowing them.
The “I don’t die,” quote said by Morgan also raises red flags for fans, many thinking that Morgan may die in the upcoming season. While I got the same impression, The Walking Dead also has a habit of having a handful of “untouchable” characters, and while the impression was rather strong, I do see Morgan as being on the edge of the untouchable circle, and see him surviving for another season.
There is a shot which involves Arat, Simon, as well as another group of Saviors in which Simon says “ I need to correct you on that point.” Simon could be talking to someone who is on the inner circle of the Savior’s allies, such as Jadis. The saviors are unarmed and all too calm to be talking to an enemy in this scene, which leads one to think ther emight be inner turmoil on the opposing side. This is not all too unlikely considering in the past, many members of Sanctuary (including Dwight) have a strong dislike towards it, as well as Negan himself.
In the next shot we hear Maggie giving a speech of her own:
“We need to keep our faith in each other, if we can hold on to that with everything we have, the future is ours. The world is ours!”
In the comics, after leadership falls through at Hilltop, Maggie ends up stepping forth and taking control of the Hilltop (and rather well, might I add), so this snippet of a monologue could be preparing us for her own leadership status. This means that in 8A, we could possibly be witnessing Gregory’s death. With Maggie taking a stand and giving her own team a pep talk, I also have hopes for the iconic “I believe in Rick Grimes,” quote to be in this scene.
Shiva also makes a cameo in the 8A promo briefly as we see her letting out her tiger growl. On first watch, this did not strike me as unusual until it was brought to my attention by MOVIEidol on youtube that she is surrounded by Walkers. Walking Dead readers remember the loss of Shiva in issue 108 as one of the saddest deaths of the series, and so the moment I noticed the zombies around her I made the connection that we could possibly be seeing her death in the upcoming season. Of course, this is not certain because we have witnessed Shiva being capable of killing walkers with her bare… claws, but it is also common sense that if she is bitten, like any living thing in the Walking Dead universe, she could die. There is a chance she could get out, but with the positions of the walkers behind her in the short clip, I would be willing to put money on saying goodbye to everyone’s favorite tiger.
Another thing that MOVIEidol pointed out was Aaron being covered in blood. They pointed out that prior to seeing the scene with blood, Aaron had been clean in the middle of war, and when he was finally bloodied, it looked to be a down time. Speculation is that this might be when his boyfriend is killed in war, yet another long awaited scene if only because it is heartbreaking. This might be a stretch because it is early and blood can come from anywhere in the apocalypse, but it would be right around the same time as the comics, and if Aaron and Eric have any screentime in the season, it does not look good for them.
In the trailer we also see a vague silhouette of a naked (or half naked) man in the back of a trailer. While it was unclear to me who it was because it was so dark, everyone has come to the conclusion that it was Rick, although it is unclear why he would be separated from his team in the first place. Neither comic readers nor show watchers will know the reason until it is revealed in the fall, as it is yet another added twist differing itself from the comic’s.
Throughout the years of The Walking Dead, the title screen has changed to decay more and more with each season, but the season 8 trailer reveals the new title card, completely altered so that it is brand new. The arc of "All out War" follows into the "A New Beginning" arc, which is why Rick wakes up with a beard and short hair. That’s right, show watchers! Sorry, the coma theory is not happening quite yet.
For the past few years, there has been a fan theory running rampant on the internet that Rick would later wake up from his coma, and everything would be a dream. Since the trailer dropped, seeing Rick awaken in a bed much like the one he was in in the first episode with even the same flowers, fans have been throwing around the idea the theory may be true, however that is not the case. It is only a part of a new story following the war when the communities start to return to normal. Fans predict that this would be happening towards the end of season 8B or in season nine, but it could very well be the mid season finale when we finally see “old man Rick:” on our screens. Ideally, I would think that the first half of the season would follow "All out War" whilst the second half focuses on "A New Beginning", but this early on, anything is game.
The Walking Dead returns to screens on October 22nd, on AMC.