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‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Teases Season 8: ‘Beginning of Civilization Is at Stake’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read ahead if you have not watched the Season 7 finale of “The Walking Dead,” titled “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.”

The Season 7 finale of “The Walking Dead” officially kicked off the war between Rick’s coalition and Negan’s Saviors. While this is not the first time we have seen Rick and his group go into battle, series showrunner Scott Gimple says that the stakes this time around are much higher for our protagonists.

“It’s essentially for the whole world as far as their experience,” Gimple told Variety. “It isn’t just their little corner. It’s the Kingdom and the Hilltop too. The Governor just wanted them dead. Negan would be happy if everyone was alive and well and working for him. There’s a very basic political idea at play here. They want to live in a fair world instead of having it just be Negan’s. To that end, that idea feels to me like the beginning of civilization is at stake, this new civilization they want to build rather than live this strange half-life serving a despot.”

During the episode, we see that Sasha, played by Sonequa Martin-Green, has taken the suicide pill that Eugene gave her. She emerges from a coffin Negan wanted to use for dramatic effect as a walker, attacking Negan and fatally wounding one of his henchmen.

“I had been talking about that with Sonequa from the beginning of the season,” Gimple said. “As things were coming into place we saw that Sasha would do anything to make sure Maggie is safe and Sasha wanted to make sure she took care of this to make sure Maggie wouldn’t have to do it. Sasha’s sacrifice is the momentum with which the characters go into Season 8. It’s tragic but much less traumatic than the first episode because this was a character going out on her own terms.”

This episode also saw Eugene formalize his commitment to Negan, going ahead of the Savior convoy to Alexandria to implore Rick to lay down his weapons and submit to Negan’s rule once and for all. But before Sasha was put into the coffin, we see her speaking with Eugene, telling him that she still has hope that he will do the right thing.

“He said he’s Negan in front of everybody,” Gimple said. “He has still not found the strength to get over his fear. He’s still Negan after seeing everything Sasha is doing. I don’t think it looks good for Eugene. But with everything Sasha said to him, maybe his courage is just lying dormant.”

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