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The Walking Dead season 8 trailer: 5 minutes of buildup to a major plot tease

The show gets everyone together to talk about fighting. Again.

Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

AMC unveiled its trailer for season 8 of The Walking Dead at its Friday Comic-Con panel, and while it shows Rick, Daryl, and the rest of our Alexandria heroes united with their groups of allies and determined to fight against Negan and the Saviors, it doesn’t do much to allay fears that the show has become mired in a swamp of inaction with no way out.

The season 8 trailer is … weird. It’s nearly five minutes long, and while there are some good moments — namely Daryl shooting things, Carol wearing body armor, and a newly badass Tara pointing her gun at something just offscreen and whispering “bang” — most of the trailer is just everyone standing around talking about fighting. In case you need a refresher, this is basically what they did for all of season 7.

Then there's a bonus scene at the end — and it’s this moment that’s really freaking out the Walking Dead fandom. We’re treated to three hazy shots in succession: a cane leaning against a wall, a man lying in what could be either a bed or a casket, surrounded by flowers, and then an overhead shot of Rick, revealed to be the person lying in that bed or casket, sporting a long Rip Van Winkle-esque beard. Is the scene implying that Rick is dead, or merely having a dream about dying, or about being back in the hospital bed where the series began?

Most likely what’s happening is that Dead is teasing fans that they might be about to get a famous plot event from the comics — which we’re about to spoil.

In The Walking Dead comics, after the famous battle between the Alexandrians and Negan, there’s a major time jump to over two years later, when Rick and company have established control of the area and are living in relative peace. Andrew Lincoln and showrunner Scott Gimple have been teasing the time jump for quite a while now, though it’s unlikely that they’d do it in the middle of the season.

However, Lincoln did state in a February interview that “also, maybe in a couple of episodes’ time, there may be a jump ahead in the curve and maybe setting themselves to that job at hand” — the “job at hand” being repopulating the world and living in peace (and, for Rick at least, presumably growing that long-ass beard).

The Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead panels also honored the late stuntman John Bernecker, who was fatally injured while filming a fight scene on the TWD set. The two panels respectively featured a moment of silence and a tribute from Gimple, who called him “beloved in the stunt community.”

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