In the sixth season of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes is told by a character named Jesus that his world is about to get a whole lot bigger. And following the brutal confrontation with Negan and his barbed baseball bat Lucille in the punishing cliffhanger, Rick and the survivors of his group are going to need all the help they can get if they are to beat the Saviours.
“The characters that survive are going to see a much larger world than they found at Hilltop,” promises executive producer Scott M. Gimple in AMC’s official featurette.
The despotic Saviours control a number of communities that represent potential allies to Rick and Alexandria. First and foremost is The Kingdom, ruled by the flamboyant and dreadlocked King Ezekiel, whose pet tiger adds to his theatrical mien. Then there is the female society of Oceanside, and of course Jesus and Gregory at Hilltop.
“What excites me about the first half of season seven is how [the world] got bigger,” adds Gimple. “It wasn’t just the discovery of new places and groups but how they were living with, around, or away from the Saviours.”
Rick Grimes is told by a character named Jesus that his world is about to get a whole lot bigger.
Rick’s past victories over the walkers and the Wolves had made him hubristic, and the terrible fallout from his pre-emptive strike against the Saviours has changed everything.
“Last season was Rick building and building in confidence, and a very important discovery that community was the key to everything,” says Gimple. “The first half of season seven [is] very much about these characters and the audience finding their way forward from an incredible trauma.”
With Rick now a broken man, he is left believing that the only way forward is compliance.
“It begins with a man being obedient and going out of his way and risking his life for Negan in order to preserve life in Alexandria,” says Andrew Lincoln. “But throughout there are successions of moments that change his mind, and make him realise that this is an untenable situation.”
And of course Negan and Lucille are never too far away. “What we’re building toward is Rick trying to re-emerge and find himself again,” adds Jeffrey Dean Morgan, “and Negan is still there with a big smile on his face, waiting. So we’re getting to a breaking point.”
JADIS &THE JUNKERS
Pollyanna McIntosh joins the cast of The Walking Dead in season seven as Jadis, the leader of a strange junkyard community that looks like it’s stepped straight out of a Mad Max movie. This society of scavengers could prove to be a valuable ally for Rick and his group in the looming war with the Saviours. They even have a walker gladiator kitted out in some fearsome looking trash armour!
Horror fans will recognise McIntosh from her roles in The Woman (2011) and Let Us Prey (2014), and she makes a welcome – and enigmatic – addition to TWD. In an interview with Variety, McIntosh had this to say about the nature of her character: “I think everybody has to be menacing at this point. It’s a dangerous world. We’re keeping our cards close to our chest, and I as an actor on the show have to keep my cards very close to my chest about where this can go. I definitely don’t see myself, as Jadis, as a villain at all. I’m a survivor and a leader, and I’ve taken pretty good care of this group. And I think she’s done a pretty good job when you see the size of it.”
The Walking Dead: Season 7 is out Sept 27