WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead, "Mercy," which as of publication has not yet aired on the west coast, and for The Walking Dead comic series.
AMC’s The Walking Dead is not shy about deviating from the comic book series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard it’s based upon. Characters who have extremely long lifespans on the printed page have been culled on the show quickly (and at times, unceremoniously), and vice versa. New characters and story elements have been added to the show, creating surprising twists and remixed scenarios with different survivors in roles that long-dead characters inhabited in the comic. It’s a smart play on the show’s behalf, one that makes the series feel like more of a communal event than if the show stuck to the source material faithfully.
But in the last season and a half, the show has been doing just that. Story beats, character deaths, and even dialogue from the comic have been adapted almost to a tee, which has us wondering if Season 8’s take on the massive 12-issue story arc “All Out War,” which ran from 2013's The Walking Dead #115 to 2014's #126, is going to continue this trend. If so, here are some things we expect to see in the weeks ahead.
There will be some losses (but not as many as you think)
No doubt about it, this kitty is a goner. Of all the elements, the show will adapt from the “All Out War” storyline, Shiva being devoured by a group of zombies is pretty much a given. Look, no one wants this to happen. Tigers are awesome (even if they are poorly rendered at times). From a logistics standpoint, killing Shiva is an easy way for the show to reroute the money spent on a CGI tiger to larger scale battles, and it also gives Ezekiel a little more character depth in the show, and will further galvanize his alliance to Rick and company.
As strange as it sounds, for a comic storyline called “All Out War,” there are surprisingly few major character deaths. Holly and Richard are the only major characters who die during this comic run, but Holly has been dead in the show since the beginning of Season 6, and Richard’s death was moved closer to the show’s adaptation of “March to War.” This potentially leaves room for at least two “big” deaths, which is something the show revels in.
Someone is getting a promotion
Maggie Greene has been put through the wringer: she’s lost her home, her family and her beloved husband. She’s been one of the earliest survivors to join Rick on his post-apocalyptic odyssey through the South both in the comics and the television show. In “All Out War,” Maggie channels her grief into something much more useful in this desolate landscape of violent men and reanimated corpses: righteous fury.
Maggie’s transition from sweet farm girl to strong leader is solidified at the end of “All Out War,” when the often-maligned (and rightfully so) Gregory is usurped by the people of Hilltop and replaced by Maggie. It’s a big moment for the character and gives her renewed purpose. Not only will she have to take care of her son (it’s a boy, by the way), she will have to protect an entire community. The purging of Gregory will also be cathartic for audiences of the show see as how Xander Berkley has done a phenomenal job of playing up the character’s despicable traits, making the viewers thoroughly dislike him. And after the soul-crushing events of Season 7, we all could use a win.