Which Walking Dead Storylines Will Pop Up In Season 6?
The Walking Dead TV show has never been a note-for-note adaptation of the Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard comic books it takes its name from; instead, the writers room has opted to cherry-pick certain stories and character moments from the comics, and remixed them for the shows in ways that often surprise even the most devout “Dead” heads.
It looks like the remix approach is rearing its head again in season six, according to show runner Scott M. Gimple. He sat down with Entertainment Weekly recently to talk about his plans for the upcoming run of “Walking Dead,” and those plans involve exploring something largely unseen in the comics, but still very much present.
“I’ll say this: I think there’s a really cool aspect to the first half of the season that serves almost as a prequel to some direct comic stuff in the second half of the season,” he says. “I think there’s a way that Robert did some of the story that we’re reaching that had a real past to it, where people are referring to some things in the past in the comic. And we’re able to portray some of that backstory in some ways that you didn’t get to see in the comic.”
Given that The Walking Dead comics number 140+ issues at this point, there’s no shortage of material available for Gimple and his team. Here are three possibilities, based on the show’s current events in relation to comic book events. Potential spoilers ahead.
Down Goes Davidson
In the comics, when Rick and company first arrive in Alexandria, we meet Douglas Monroe, the leader of the community. (Douglas was more or less split into two characters, Deanna and Reggie Monroe, for the show.) Although Monroe seems cool, calm and collected on the surface, there’s a rage bubbling underneath, specifically stemming from a man he was forced into exiling early on in Alexandrian history.
The man, named Davidson, never actually appears in the pages of Walking Dead, at least not yet. But it’s eventually revealed that Davidson was the original founder and leader of Alexandria, and was manipulating members of the community, specifically women, so much so that one of his victims ultimately killed herself. Once Monroe and others caught onto Davidson’s schemes, they burned a walker body to double as Davidson’s body, and then sent the man out into exile. He’s never been seen or heard from since.
Based on Gimple’s comments, it’s possible we could see a Davidson story play out in the first half of season six. It’s the exact kind of sociopolitical dilemma that the show loves to toy with, especially in a setting like Alexandria. There’s a perfect fill-in for Davidson on the show, too, in the form of Nicholas, the sniveling coward whose spinelessness got Noah and Deanna’s son killed during a supply run.
In an even more extreme scenario, the first half of season six could continue the discussion of whether or not to exile Rick; after all, in the comics, Doug Monroe consistently compares Rick to Davidson, so the link already exists. On top of that, the Walking Dead Comic-Con poster has already made it clear that a potential civil war is brewing in Alexandria. Could it erupt over the issue of Rick’s future in the community?
All possibilities, and all speculation until proven otherwise.
Even if you haven’t read The Walking Dead comics, odds are that you’ve at least heard of Negan already. He’s infamous in Walking Dead lore, the kind of villain that makes Governor Don’t-Call-Him-Philip Blake look like a total hero. There’s no way Walking Dead wraps its run without bringing Negan into the mix, and frankly, there’s almost no way we leave season six without spotting him — and, as a word of warning, his very first scene will absolutely break your heart and bash your brains in.
Assuming Negan’s first scene from the comics is his first scene on the show, that is. A bit of background: Negan runs a group called the Saviors, a community that derives the lion’s share of its power from dominating other similar communities — places like Alexandria, for instance. How did Negan and the Saviors come into such a position of power? We never see it for ourselves in the comics, but perhaps that’s something the Walking Dead show writers are interested in playing out.
Building up Negan from the ground up paves the way for the show to similarly explore some of the other communities in the Walking Dead universe that we haven’t seen yet. It could be the gateway toward meeting folks like Paul “Jesus” Monroe (no relation to Doug/Deanna/Reg) from the Hilltop and King Ezekiel from the Kingdom… which means getting a tiger on the show. (It’ll make sense when we get to it. Honestly, maybe it WON’T make sense, but it should be pretty awesome anyway.)
In other words, beginning Negan’s story at the beginning — or at least earlier than we meet him in The Walking Dead comics — could mean the beginning of a whole bunch of other pivotal stories as well. Then again, the first half of season six feels early to start exploring all of those characters and corners of The Walking Dead. It also undercuts the sheer impact of Negan’s introduction in the books, and it’s a moment the show will undoubtedly want to recapture — unfortunately at the expense of one fan-favorite character or another.
No spoilers on that death here, but it’s not hard to look up if you’re truly curious. Just be warned that it’s a big one, so (a) DON’T LOOK IT UP, (b) bring tissues and a barf bag if you DO go looking (but DON’T), and (c) keep in mind that the show loves remixing events from the comics, so this person’s fate is not completely signed, sealed and delivered just yet.
But seriously, why did you just look that up? Now your whole week is ruined!
Whispers in the Dark
This is a dark horse contender, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Talking about these characters means getting deep into current events in The Walking Dead comics, which are pretty damn different from where we are on the show. Tread lightly, if you wish to tread at all.
Kirkman and Adlard’s current run on Walking Dead has introduced an all-new group of potential bad guys into the mix, a threat far worse than any walker horde or individual man has ever posed before. They’re known as the Whisperers, and they’re human beings who roam the world blending in with the zombies, thanks to the rotting flesh suits they fashion for themselves. It’s… really gross.
The Whisperers walk and act like walkers, in other words, but talk and scheme like the humans they are beneath their zombie skin-suit surfaces. They are led by a bald woman named Alpha, who long ago abandoned her name and conventionally civilized ways. She has an enormous army of walkers at her disposal, ready to unleash them on anyone at any time — the zombie apocalypse’s equivalent of a nuclear bomb, pretty much. And guess what? She does not like Rick Grimes and his people. Not one bit.
Alpha and the Whisperers have yet to strike with full force, as their story remains ongoing, but even still, they are the most frightening villains we’ve met in The Walking Dead comics so far, and it’s not close. It’s such an amazingly visual idea, too, seeing humans walking around wearing walker skins as camouflage; in a very real way, the Whisperers feel like the first Walking Dead comic book characters designed with their future appearance on the show in mind.
If the show moves forward at the pace of the comics, then we won’t see the Whisperers until season seven or eight. But the show doesn’t move forward at the pace of the comics. It spent a full season on Hershel’s farm, when Hershel’s farm only lasted three issues. It spent one and a half season at the prison, even though the prison was one of the most enduring locations in the comics. Time-tables constantly change between The Walking Dead show and source material, and it’s entirely possible that we’ll see the origins of the Whisperers well before we see them arrive fully-formed on the show. If that’s the case, don’t say we didn’t warn you when they come a-crawling.