The Walking Dead Season 7 PaleyFest Rick Michonne

The Walking Dead @ PaleyFest: The Stars Tease the Finale — And 'Beyond'

This season of The Walking Dead has been building towards a big ol’ showdown between Rick and Negan — and we might not have to wait until next season to see it.

“The end of this season is very much the end of a chapter,” showrunner Scott M. Gimple hinted to fans at Friday’s PaleyFest L.A. panel. No, he didn’t come out and promise us a Rick vs. Negan fight to the death, but he did say the April 2 finale will be the start of a new era for AMC’s zombie thriller: “It’s about setting up this gigantic, epic tale to come — not only in Season 8, but beyond.”

And “beyond” could mean another seven seasons, Gimple thinks. He noted that the Season 8 premiere will be the show’s 100th episode, and he teased that it’ll be less about celebrating that milestone and “more about setting up the next hundred episodes.” (Season 14, anyone?)

More highlights from Friday’s Walking Dead panel at PaleyFest L.A.:

* Creator Robert Kirkman marveled at how vividly Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been able to bring the show’s big bad Negan to life: “[Negan] is this horrible person… but he has this spark to him that’s really engaging and really entertaining. And Jeffrey portrayed that so well… there’s a warmth to him even when he’s performing these horrible things. I don’t know how he pulls it off.”

* Andrew Lincoln (Rick) remembered shooting this season’s scenes where Rick lost the will to fight back against Negan as “a pretty miserable day at the office.” But he was emboldened by the courage of the writing, he says: “I thought it was such a brave thing to do: to smash a hero, an archetype. And I thought, ‘I’m gonna do it with everything I have… and be in a shame-free zone.'”

The Walking Dead Season 7 Maggie Lauren Cohan* Lauren Cohan (Maggie) said the baby that Maggie’s carrying is inspiring her to keep going, even after the brutal murder of Glenn at the hands of Negan: “What other reason would there be to experience such loss… than to have life inside you? You still have to survive. When you still have light to share, that’s just who you are. The more people she loses, the stronger the fire burns in her.”

* Josh McDermitt (Eugene) explained that Eugene has fallen in with Negan and the Saviors as a way to survive: “Eugene is scared. He’s trying to protect himself. And why not align yourself with the man who’s causing the most fear in your life?… Throughout the show, we’ve seen [Eugene] adapt and change. That’s how he survives. He lies and manipulates. He’s like a cockroach, man!”

* Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel) hinted that Gabriel is doing his best to atone for his past cowardice: “He didn’t live up to his ideal of himself, and has to face that every day. He’s been able to go back and try to make up for it. He’s trying to prove that… he will be accountable for his actions. He’s not going to shrink from it.”

* New mom Alanna Masterson (Tara) recalled being stunned when she first got the script for this season’s Tara-centric episode: “I was reading it, and I was like, ‘Does he know that I just had a baby?'” But she embraced the episode’s high-octane action: “We just went for it. [The director] was like, ‘You want to fall off a bridge?’ I was like, ‘Sure!’ ‘You want to run on burning hot cars?’ I was like, ‘Sure!’ I thought it was Tara’s time to shine.”

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  1. Ronnie Brown says:

    I love the Walking Dead, but eight more seasons??…I need an end game. Is a cure gonna be found?. Will society recover or is it walkers forever?

    • Ramona says:

      I definitely remember Gimple saying in an interview that he has story arc plans through season 12 so I think we can expect the show to go at least that long.
      Looking at the rest of Sunday ratings landscape as well as the ratings on the rest of AMC programming, I’m pretty sure even if TWD ratings slipped by 90% and/or Andy/Rick wanted off the show, they will still milk this show for seasons to come.

      Kirkman has also given a past interview saying a “cure, cause, immunity” etc. storylines are not the point of the comic or show so I doubt those aspects will ever be explored.

  2. Brian says:

    It’s far from perfect these days, but I still have alot of love for Walking Dead. Hope the season finale is good.

  3. Cassie James says:

    Don’t think I can take 7 more seasons of doom and gloom.

    • MrMank says:

      The graphic novels are still being written, but even not knowing the ending, it’s not all gloom and doom. What Rick & Co. accomplish – allegedly – in coming seasons is really cool. That being said, a zombie show is not gonna be all rainbows and unicorns.

    • Stephen A. says:

      I can take 7 more seasons of you!

  4. Joey Padron says:

    Good scoop from the cast and producers about the upcoming episodes. Can’t wait to watch new episode tomorrow night!

  5. Why can’t I get TV, on my iPad it makes me angry,

  6. SayNay says:

    Seven more seasons? Nope! TWD needs to be done in another 2-3. Yes, there’s still source material being written, but the ratings have been on a steady decline and the show’s writers haven’t done enough to make viewers care about new characters. Also, I’m sure vets on the show want to move on to other projects by now.

    • n8frogg78 says:

      Or you could just not watch it. Wanting a show to be off the air because you don’t like it is really selfish. There’s plenty of others things on TV for you to enjoy.

  7. Tony says:

    I like JDM as Negan. And I like that he’s unapologetically bad. But I just don’t see this charm that makes it hard to hate him. Maybe it comes off better in the graphic novel. I just find him and his actions reprehensible. I know Negan is still around in the comics. I think we need to remember we are talking about TV here, a different medium that moves along at different place. There is only so much they can let Negan get away with before it begins to wear pretty thin.

    • CEA says:

      I agree it is starting to wear thin now. Everytime you think his reign will end something happens and he’s got the upper hand again.

  8. bigguy3080 says:

    Yeah…I have to admit Jeffrey Dean Morgan has really played the Negan character very well. Of course I see this show going a long time cuz let’s face it, we saw how people got when they all thought Daryl might die at the beginning of the season.

  9. Christian says:

    The show has lost 40% of its audience in just 13 episodes this season. Another 7 seasons? Keep dreaming!

  10. Ken nichols says:

    I would love to see an episode of twd without having to put up with Carol’s constant bawling. C’mon man. What happened to the big bad ass??

  11. Spence says:

    The writers/producers of this show really are in some fantasy world with Negan. JDM does nothing to make that character interesting in the slightest, and hes written so poorly it wouldn’t matter who the actor was in the first place

  12. Jax&Juice's Girl says:

    I really like JDM but…..Negan and his ”BRAIN WASHED” minions has to go I can’t stand them, plus that coward/punkass Gregory!!! I love this show I think it might go up to at least 12 seasons. As for the comics hell R.K. can keep writing it all out but the series overall I say needs an end game.

  13. Diane says:

    God they are really blind to the non charm of tv Negan. Or maybe they think if they keep saying how great he is, people will start to believe it.

  14. Snow says:

    Just waiting for the next epsiode.
    Stupid paley center. Not streaming the event

  15. Azerty says:

    I don’t know if the show can have 7 more seasons, probably. They succeeded (for me at least) to create a villain I love to hate. I was thinking about the governor and I remember I couldn’t care less about him, the episodes focused on him were so boring on the contrary to Negan. Now the problem of the show is that since season 4 they are doing “focus” episode and only season premiere and season finale bring everyone back together. That is killing it for me…Maybe they need less characters I don’t know. Anyway what i’m just asking is please let them interact with each other…

  16. Brenda says:

    I have been watching walking dead since the very first episode…I am so glad that they are looking at it being on for 8 more years…yeahhhhh…that is 8 more years of handsome Norman Reddus.which I am 55 years old and watched everything he has made…

  17. this show does not deserve to last that long.

  18. Jamie says:

    ‘there’s a warmth to him…’. Lol…uhm, no.
    I’m a fan of JDM, but the Negan episodes are my least favorite. I admit to not being a book reader, and I hope he’s gone after this season.
    And I’m ready for Carol to come out of whatever funk she’s in.
    Hope this season ends on a somewhat positive note, relatively speaking, of course.

  19. Susan betts says:

    I for one want the walking dead to keep going past the 12 seasons i am a fan if people dont want this they dont have to watch l for one will

  20. Eric Larkin says:

    I would be interested to have a Negan episode to show why he is the way he is. Haven’t read the novel, so have no clue.

  21. Angie D says:

    This season was very mixed. The 1st 1/2 was a downer as Rick and gang were subjugated. The mid season finale finally brought fight back to the gang. This 2nd 1/2 has been hit or miss for me. I know they are gearing up, but it just seems like the cast is too big to make the show come together. Not sure how I feel about Eugene anymore – he’s definitely looking out for #1 and I’m not sure where his loyalties ultimately exist. Tara was one of his closest allies and he rejected her.

  22. Wolfie says:

    What really is killing the show are the filler episodes like the Tara and Richonne ones. All that plot with the guns is not very interesting, they deviated from the comics and instead of adding something interesting we had like 3 episodes focused on finding guns that didn’t advance the plot at all. This shows needs original material or else they’ll catch up with the comics, but the writers and showrunner are supposed to be professionals and somehow they fail everytime real talent is needed to come up with new things. The garbage people is a thing in this show and I still can’t believe that is professional work.
    Next episode we have Oceanside, did we really need a whole episode with Tara to show us that community? It would have fitted with the Richonne episode, we didn’t need an entire episode dedicated to them, I wanted to see Rick interacting with other characters for once, like his kids. They should have ditched the entire romance thing with Rick since they killed Andrea and they are following the comics with a romance storyline. They forced traits that belong to Andrea and don’t go well with Michone. Now because a good chunk of the audience don’t buy that romance, they have to make people love them as a power couple and choke us with entire episodes dedicated to them, that are not even good ones and it’s like they stole a notebook with the first fan fiction by a 14 year old fangirl and wrote a tv script based on it.
    I love JDM as Negan and he has amazing chemistry with the MC, they should be together in more episodes, but they’re trying too hard to make people dislike Negan when people already hate him for what he did to Glenn and Abe. In the comics he didn’t kill entire communities or kids, and it was explicit that the wives were with him by choice, even Sherry is this sweet woman in the show but in the comics she is the complete opposite. Burning the doctor was out of character for Negan too and I’m really hoping is revealed he didn’t believe Dwight because if he did they are making him plain dumb. The talented actors and the good material from the comics was available for them to use it but they didn’t try to write a compelling story and instead they took the easy way out pandering to some shippers and they continue to pay the actors for 3 or 4 episodes per season, the network is cheap but if this goes on they won’t make it to those 14 seasons or at least they won’t make as much money.

  23. Aldis Rapsys says:

    Eugene is playing his hand close to the chest and at the same time Negan is really empowering him because of his knowledge. Something he hasn’t utilized since admitting that Washington was bullcrap. I don’t sense betrayal at all.

  24. I’m a huge Walking dead since the very beginning, and honestly, this season is seriously testing my loyalty with how uninteresting it is. I’m not really sure how much longer I can keep watching. Only a few characters are making it worth it at this point.