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'The Walking Dead' Teases Character Deaths

Fans of "The Walking Dead" got a taste of what's to come when the show returns after AMC released the title and synopsis for its season opener.

The episode, dubbed “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be," is expected to pick up immediately where season six's cliffhanger finale left off, according to AMC.

"Last season ended with Rick and our group kneeling helplessly before Negan and his group," AMC's synopsis reads. "What Negan does will haunt those who survive forever."

The death toll could be higher than expected in the seventh season. "The Walking Dead" is based on a comic book of the same name, and in the comic Negan takes the life of one of the series' protagonists in brutal fashion by hammering that person with a barbed baseball bat.

The TV show, while leading up to the same scene, has always taken major liberties with the source material, however, and is expected to diverge from the comic again. That's led some fans to speculate that villain Negan could take the lives of two or more characters in the bloody opening minutes of the seventh season premiere.

That speculation was further fueled by executive producer Greg Nicotero, who may have inadvertently given away some details in an interview that ironically was about keeping the show's events a secret from the public until broadcast.

"If we would have shown the deaths, then they wouldn’t have felt our characters in season 7 the way they need to," Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly in the magazine's Sept. 6 issue. "And the thing that I think a lot of people will get out of it is how that moment changes the entire makeup of our universe within a split second."

That's deaths, plural. Did Nicotero misspeak? Or did he let slip that the villain will kill two or more main cast members?

One thing's for sure -- fans won't be able to parse future events by reviewing any of the teaser footage or even last season's cliffhanger. "The Walking Dead" crew filmed the pivotal scene with each character as Negan's victim, to throw off spoiler-hunters trying to spy on the production from afar with cameras or above with drones.

AMC also shot and released 11 different teasers with 11 different characters, according to TV Guide. Each teaser shows the respective character's first appearance with the words "The Beginning," then shows the character kneeling beneath a menacing Negan with the words "The End."

The promos are intended to get viewers on edge by raising the possibility that their favorite characters could be the victim or victims.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the actor who plays bad guy Negan, said the scene will be traumatizing.

“You won’t be able to see Negan without thinking of the premiere episode," Morgan said, according to Comic Book. "What he does is so strong and so shocking. The way Negan inflicts damage is so original to Negan that whenever he comes on screen you will not know what to expect."

"The Walking Dead" returns on Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. For fans who can't wait, AMC is planning a marathon featuring all 88 episodes of the series starting on Oct. 16.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, TV Guide, AMC, Comic Book / Photo credit: AMC

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