WARNING: The following contains The Walking Dead comic and the AMC television series, now in its 10th season.
When Robert Kirkman pitched The Walking Dead to Image Comics, he had to lie about the virus and zombie apocalypse, as the publisher felt he needed a hook beyond the typical genre tropes. The writer revealed he said the zombies were actually due to aliens plotting an invasion, and using walkers to weaken Earth. Humans initially think the spread of the virus came from some sort of cosmic accident, but it's all a plot to kick-start the extraterrestrial invasion.
While that never played out in the books, thanks to Kirkman's creative and snarky dishonesty -- something no one can hold against him given the property's success -- his scrapped plan about said cosmic disaster ironically seems to be coming to fruition in AMC's The Walking Dead. Even though it didn't bring about the end of the world in the comics, a fallen Soviet satellite is indeed poised to do so in Season 10 of its television adaptation.
In the premiere, "Lines We Cross," a degraded satellite falls to Earth from orbit as we see the main characters' different stories play out. Daryl and Carol reconnect, Michonne and Aaron argue about how to move forward now that it seems the Whisperers are back, and so on. Each story culminates with the characters witnessing the satellite crashing to the planet and, in the episode's final act, starting a fire just outside of Oceanside.
The fire spreads pretty quickly and the alliance members rush into action to extinguish the blaze, only to realize it's in Whisperer territory. They usually don't cross the borders Alpha set up, but in this case, if that fire isn't put out, it will engulf the alliance's territory. Seeing as the Whisperers vacated the land months ago, logic prevails with Daryl, Carol, Michonne and co., which leads them to break the rules set up since the slaughter at the Fair last season. It's an uneasy choice but a necessity as they go over into Alpha's lands to douse the flames.
They succeed, but the fallen satellite represents doom as it appears to be the catalyst for the Whisperer War. This war, based on vengeance and genocide, almost brought about the end of civilization in the comics and, in the series, it's not likely Alpha will take well to intrusion. That intimidating stare-down with the embattled Carol in the episode's final shot hints as much. We can imagine Alpha moving like a psycho, opposing the alliance for outing the fire. She's always said her society doesn't need help so this breaking of the rules could be construed as an act of war and disobedience.
Alpha already lost her daughter to the alliance so her ego's bruised. To get back at the alliance, she might do the thing we've been fearing for so long: unleash her horde on the citizens of the three communities. She warned them last season about crossing lines, and now that they've literally done that, it appears the satellite is indeed the signal for a bloodbath.
Coincidentally, Eugene insists on scrapping it for parts, a move showrunner Angela Kang said could tip the fight in their favor. Until then, though, it's darkly poetic that something that fell to Earth after the control room back home was either abandoned or wiped out is set to lead to massive casualties. Kirkman ducked it in the comics, but it's clear Kang and her team of writers felt this bomb from space was the way to go. And with Alpha controlling a horde and the element of surprise, the Whisperers clearly have the advantage.
The Walking Dead stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Jeffrey Dean Morgan,Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Khary Payton, Cooper Andrews, Avi Nash, Samantha Morton. It airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.