Just like its primary existential threat, the ubiquitous swarms of undead walkers, AMC’s The Walking Dead simply refuses to die an easy death. The series has gone through some major changes along the way, and while the ratings aren’t quite what they once were, the long-running zombie drama remains popular and now we’re in the middle of The Walking Dead season 10. In fact, it was recently renewed for an impressive 11th season, complete with one surprising return.
But before we get to season 11 of The Walking Dead, we still have eight more episodes of season 10 to contend with. New episodes don’t return for a few weeks, but there’s no time like the present to look forward and dig into what we know about those upcoming chapters.
When Does Season 10 of The Walking Dead Return?
What’s The Walking Dead Season 10 About?
So, we know when season 10 of The Walking Dead returns, but when it does, what’s it all about? The official synopsis is pretty vague on specifics, though it sets the stage for major clashes to come:
“The survivors are still dealing with the Whisperer’s horrific display of power, reluctantly respecting the new borders imposed on them, all while organizing into a militia-style fighting force, preparing for a battle that may be unavoidable.”
Again, short on details, long on ominous set up that teases large scale violence between the various groups of survivors. Which is more or less how the series operates, and definitely enough to keep fans interested.
The most recent mid-season trailer digs a bit deeper into the actual plot mechanics of what the final eight episodes of season 10 will look like. And yes, it is, as you likely guessed, quite grim.
As is so often the case, the first half of season 10 ended on a major cliffhanger. What better way to keep us all on the hook? And not many shows are as good as The Walking Dead at leaving characters fans love in mortal danger just as the series goes on hiatus for a few months. It’s frustrating as hell, but dammit, it works.
Episode eight, “The World Before,” ends with a group of core characters falling into a clever trap set by Alpha (Samantha Morton). When looking for her pack of walkers, a group led by Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) do indeed find them, but not where they expected. As a result, the show went to break with them trapped in a cave, surrounded by a swarm of hungry undead, with dwindling hope.
They’re not alone, however. Daryl and Carol are joined by Aaron (Ross Marquand), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), Magna (Nadia Hilker, and Jerry (Cooper Andrews). Unfortunately for our stranded crew, they’ll probably have to find their own way out, as no one else knew their plan or knows where they are.
A significant portion of at least the next episode will likely deal with that particular predicament. It’s far from the only sticky situation The Walking Dead has to deal over the next few months. They have plenty of other messes to clean up.
Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) killing Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) in a fit of rage is sure to cause fallout, even though he was a spy. And with Dante killing Siddiq (Avi Nash), they’re without a doctor for the time being, which, if you’re gearing up for war, is a good thing to have.
While all of the rest of this is going on, Michonne (Danai Gurira) is out having her own side adventure. While heading to Oceanside with Judith, she met a new character, Virgil (Kevin Carroll), who adds a wrinkle to the proceedings. While we don’t know much about him yet, he claims he lives on an island naval base, one with a surplus of weapons. Since Michonne appears to believe he’s not a threat, said weapons could prove mighty useful in the upcoming conflict with Alpha’s forces. There are also theories that Virgil knows Rick Grimes, which would be a thing.
And really, everything appears to be heading for war. Tensions continue to build and escalate until something has to give. It’s all leading to an all-out battle for survival between the Whisperers and the combined forces of Alexandria, Oceanside, and Hilltop.
Who Will Survive?
Over the previous 10 seasons, The Walking Dead has never been coy about killing characters fans love (and some they can’t stand). Lori, Carl, Glenn, Jesus, Abraham, Beth, Andrea, so many others.
Given that predilection, no one is ever safe. Also given the predicament at the end of “The World Before,” it’s a decent bet at least one, if not more, of the folks trapped in Alpha’s cave is going to die. Who, however, remains to be seen. (If Daryl dies, people might literally burn things.) And with the burgeoning war with the Whisperers, there are bound to be casualties, probably significant ones on both sides. Maybe they finally rid themselves of Alpha or Negan.
We’ll have to wait to watch the carnage for ourselves starting in February, but one major question looms above all others when it comes to the rest of the season of The Walking Dead. What about Michonne?
In February 2019, Dania Gurira revealed she will leave the show following season 10. Under her current contract, the Black Panther star is currently also operating in a limited capacity, not appearing in every episode.
So, what does this mean for her character? How will she make her exit? Is she doomed to die, or will she sail off into the sunset? Some people think her fate is tied to Virgil somehow. He resembles a character from the comics who is a crew member on a ship she lives on for a time. It’s possible she could leave to join another colony. Many also speculate that Gurira will join fellow Walking Dead ex-pat, Andrew Lincoln, for his reported trio of Rick Grimes spin-off movies. That would make sense, given their committed relationship, and if they were to reunite, they’d probably want to stay together.
Michonne’s exit could also set the stage for another character’s return. With her leaving, something of a leadership void remains. And you know who was a badass leader? Maggie Rhee.
At New York Comic-Con, AMC announced season 11 of The Walking Dead, and with it they dropped the news that Lauren Cohan, Maggie herself, will also return. We’ll get to find out about her life with Georgie’s community and surrounding adventures. Maggie and Michonne have some ill-defined beef, so it also makes sense for only one of them to be around at a time.
While Cohan is slated to return as a series regular in season 11, she’s also listed in the IMDb credits for the final episode of The Walking Dead season 10. If we had to hazard a guess, there won’t be a ton to her appearance. It’s easy to imagine she shows up at the very end, we get a good look at her face, cheer, and they leave the season hanging on that note. It may very well resemble Michonne’s first appearance at the tail end of “Beside the Dying Fire,” the final episode of season three.
Zombie Carl For Walking Dead Season 10?
One of the more far-fetched fan theories surrounding the remaining eight episodes of season 10 of The Walking Dead, revolves around a long-dead character. Could Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) make a comeback in zombie form?
Never ones to shy away from copious promos, AMC has released a variety of clips and teasers for the upcoming eight episodes. One of them features a shot that shows a walker hand popping out of a grave.
The internet being the internet, fans immediately began to wonder if this is Carl, digging his way out of the grave. That’s really all there is to go on, but Riggs himself has teased such a return in the past, so who’s to say?
How The Walking Dead Apocalypse Began
Robert Kirkman, who created The Walking Dead comics, as well as worked on the series, has never revealed how the zombie apocalypse came to be. After a car accident, Rick Grimes wakes from a coma to find himself in an end-of-days nightmare. It just kind of goes from there.
On Twitter recently, he did provide an answer to a fan. However, it doesn’t sound like it was a serious one.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for adding a bit of additional sci-fi to The Walking Dead. That said, a space spore causing the worldwide zombie pandemic seems…unlikely. In reality, Kirkman was probably just having some fun.
But who knows? It’s also not the first time he has teased that the root cause might be more science fiction-based. A few years back, answering questions on Tumblr, he said:
“I know… but it’s a crazy sci-fi thing that would make the story all that much weirder. Maybe years after it’s all over I’ll just casually mention it in an interview. That seems like a very J.K. Rowling thing to do. It couldn’t be less important to the story and the lives of these characters. It would be completely out of place in the story. Honestly if a scientist from Washington came to the character and told them what happened the characters would just shrug and say ‘Oh… okay…’ it wouldn’t change their lives at all… and… I’ve said too much.”
In the big picture, he’s right. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t change daily life for the characters much, if at all. They have to contend with the walkers and other survivors no matter what. Still, that’s not going to stop anyone from wondering, speculating, and tossing out random guesses now and again.