SPOILERS ahead for the The Walking Dead comic books.
The Walking Dead season 8 finale features an “unusual” but phenomenal setting, according to star Andrew Lincoln. The eighth season of Rick’s zombie apocalypse nightmare has focused more or less completely on the ongoing battle between Negan’s ruthless Saviors and the combined forces of Rick’s Alexandria, Maggie’s Hilltop, and Ezekiel’s Kingdom. Both sides have experienced wins, losses and betrayals and, tragically, Rick even lost his beloved son Carl to a zombie bite. However, with only two episodes remaining in the current run, the war is rapidly reaching a crescendo.
In the comic series, the final battle takes place at The Hilltop, with Negan demanding surrender before being surprised by Rick. The two mortal enemies deliver serious injuries to each other before Rick, of course, ultimately triumphs. By killing off Carl, however, The Walking Dead has already made a sizeable deviation from its comic book source material and several other key changes, such as Eugene’s betrayal and the introductions of Jadis and the Oceanside group, suggest that even those familiar with the comic books won’t know exactly how the ‘All Out War’ arc will wrap up on TV.
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Rick Grimes himself, otherwise known as Andrew Lincoln, has now revealed a few slices of information regarding The Walking Dead‘s forthcoming season 8 finale and it seems as if fans should expect the unexpected. Speaking to EW, Lincoln claims:
“I think you’ve got everything in this one. It’s quite an unusual structure, but it’s very emotional, I hope, because that’s what I felt [while filming]… The location we shot at was phenomenal and unusual, I hope that it’s going to look on screen as good as it felt when we were shooting there.”
Lincoln’s reference to an “unusual” location suggests that the final fight between his character and Negan is unlikely to take place at The Hilltop, as it did the comics, and instead teases an entirely new location. This is despite the fact that the trailer for next week’s episode “Worth” suggested another raid on Maggie’s community by Negan. However, the actor’s comments regarding an unconventional structure might hint at some flashback or flashforward scenes interlaced with the action taking place in the present. In this regard, perhaps the “unusual setting” Lincoln speaks of actually concerns a future version of Alexandria akin to what was seen in the Old Man Rick scenes earlier in the season.
In either case, The Walking Dead‘s showrunner has already promised that while this season will set up arcs for the future, it won’t end on a big cliffhanger – something the show has been criticized for in the past. With new faces due to join the creative team in season nine and a large time jump occurring at this point in the comics, there could be plenty more new and unusual settings for The Walking Dead to visit in the near future.
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The Walking Dead continues Sunday, April 8th with “Worth” on AMC.