5 Bold Predictions for The Walking Dead Season 8
Welcome to my clickbait, er I mean my article, where I make a poor attempt at prognostication about the upcoming season 8 of The Walking Dead. If I have to warn you about spoilers ahead, then I am truly sorry – you did see the title of the article, right? This article is all about attempting to spoil things. That said, I will give you another type of disclaimer: I have no inside knowledge about the upcoming season. I do not have any special relationship with Robert Kirkman or Scott Gimple (though not for lack of trying – but apparently there are these things called “anti-stalking laws” so…). Instead, my “predictions” are based solely on trends, the comics, and a love of the show (and perhaps a perverse desire to ruffle some feathers).
Note: These predictions are not ranked in any particular order of importance.
Prediction No. 1 – The “War” will sadly span two seasons.
Although the TV show has deviated from the comic throughout its run by introducing new characters and killing major characters out of order, the show still follows the major story arcs in the comic. This is probably due to the fact that Mr. Kirkman has indicated he has a definite plan for how the series will end. That means while the TV show can stray a bit from the story arcs, it cannot stray too far.
Each season covers about 16 issues of the comic. However, the epic war between Rick and Negan, sub-titled “All Out War” is concluded in 12 issues of the comic: 115 to 126. The war itself only consists of three major battles, with minor skirmishes in between. Accordingly, it would be so easy to wrap up this story arc in one 16 episode season (and it should).
However, after All Out War, there is a lull in the comic and not much happens until the next major conflict titled “The Whisperer War”. During this lull, one of the shows most dynamic characters (and I would imagine lucrative from a merchandise standpoint) is out of the picture (I will not say why – read the comic if you must know). Thus, I imagine the TV producers got together and discussed how they could keep Negan in the picture over an additional season. The only way they could accomplish this feat would be to drag out the All Out War story arc over 32 episodes instead of 16. *Sigh*
Prediction No. 2 – Shiva will die by Episode 3 of Season 8.
One of the greatest scenes of Season 7, if not the greatest, is when Negan is about to kill Carl in front of Rick, and Shiva the tiger bursts on the scene like a beautifully rendered CGI deus ex machina to save the day. This was one of the few moments watching last season when I actually cheer/yelled at my TV. But sadly, despite her popularity, Shiva will die sooner rather than later.
I have two reasons for this prediction. The first reason is that in the comic early on in the war, Shiva sacrifices herself to save Ezekiel after his devastating loss attempting to take out a Savior outpost. However, the writers of the TV show have not always killed characters when they die in the comic, so maybe there is hope for Shiva? Sadly, no.
I recently learned watching Game of Thrones that CGI is extremely expensive, so much so that the GOT writers left out a key element of story: Ghost, without even an attempt at explanation. Therefore, I imagine the folks at AMC will not hesitate to “stick with the original storyline” when confronted with an opportunity to kill off their most expensive actor.
Prediction No. 3 Carol Will Die.
Sorry fans of Melissa McBride, but I predict this will be Carol’s last season.
This was not an easy prediction to make. First, I looked at the trends of seasons past. In each season, at least three main characters have died. (Note: I define a main character as a character that has appeared in at least two seasons-excluding the first season of course.) At least one of these deaths was designed to be devastating and cathartic to convey the idea that no one is safe (except Daryl, whose fans have established the rather catchy campaign “if Daryl dies-we riot!”)
Now, in the comic, Carol dies back in the prison by killing herself in a rather gruesome fashion when her lover abandons her; the comic Carol was never strong. Even though the two Carols had the same origin-i.e. survivor of domestic violence, they had diverged completely. The TV Carol is a bad-ass and even a bit scary. Yet, at this point in the story, due to her recent conflicted nature, Carol’s role has become a sort of emotional liability for many of the characters, mainly Daryl.
Based on this, I think her death will serve as a rallying point for Rick, Daryl, and Morgan when the tide shifts and they need something to stoke their emotional fire and propel them to a final victory. Additionally, Carol’s death will give the audience the emotional devastation it has come to expect each season.
Prediction No. 4 Tara Chambler will not die
I conducted a super-scientific poll on Twitter recently to see who fans thought would die in the upcoming season. The fans overwhelmingly said Tara was going to meet her end this season. Now, I confess there were only 9 votes total, so not quite enough for a statistical sampling, but I think some of the reasons people chose Tara as the character most likely to die is a reason that she will not.
Tara is currently an outlier on the show. She does not have quite the emotional ties with the main characters as someone like Carol. The one person she was close to, Denise, died. Thus, while her death would be “safe”, it would not carry much emotional punch as far as a plot device. Additionally, the show and the comic have notably featured many gay and lesbian characters. I think showing diversity in all forms in this new world is important to Mr. Kirkman, so I seriously doubt they would decide to kill a character that represents a key part of the diversity of Rick’s group. It is a safe bet that Tara will survive to the next season.
Prediction No. 5 Gregory will try to kill Maggie
One trend that I have noted is the tendency for the show to take important events from the comic and have them occur at different points in the story arc. One such important event is when Gregory, the former leader of the Hilltop, attempts to kill Maggie by poisoning her.
In the comic, this event happens after the war with the Saviors concludes. However, due to the fact that I think they are going to draw out the war over two seasons, I think they are going to fill in gaps by bringing the conflict between Gregory and Maggie to the forefront. We have already seen this conflict building in Season 7; there even was a point in Season 7 where Gregory was clearly contemplating taking Maggie out. This season I think he is going to finally be pushed to the point where he is actually going to make an attempt. Don’t be surprised if that ends up being a mid-season cliffhanger.
With regards to other aspects of the show, I have absolutely no clue or guess. The Scavengers led by Jadis, the Oceanside group, and Enid are wild cards that could have any role in the story. I am sure there will be additional non-comic characters added to the show as well. But one thing I really like about the writing on the show is that while the writers generally follow the main story arcs of the comic, they still manage to shock and surprise me. I have no doubt they will continue to do so, and if they read my humble article, they are probably laughing their asses off at how far off base I am on my predictions.
Regardless, my one for sure prediction is that I will faithfully watch every episode of the upcoming season and put my two cents in here and there in future articles.