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Surviving a zombie apocalypse is no easy job, and The Walking Dead knows that better than most, having chronicled the lives of a rotating group of survivors for more than a decade now — even saying goodbye to some beloved fan favorites along the way.
But with Season 11 set to premiere on Aug. 22, it looks like this chapter of their story is about to come to a close, as AMC bids farewell to its flagship series over the course of 24 episodes, the last of which will air in 2022.
However, just because the end is nigh, it doesn't mean there aren't still cool new characters to be introduced from the hit comic series that the show is based on, created by Robert Kirkman (Invincible), Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.
Of course, reading ahead will probably not offer many answers as to what's coming, even though fans who have read the comics will be somewhat aware of what's on the horizon. "If you’re familiar with the comic, you know where at least some of this is going," teases Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment, in a release about the upcoming season. "As always, it will be interesting to see all the way[s] the show remains faithful vs how it changes and adapts to the TV medium."
How to watch
The show officially premieres Aug. 22 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC, but AMC+ subscribers will be able to watch the episode (and every other episode of Season 11) a week early starting from Aug. 15.
What will this season be about?
Well, according to the synopsis released by AMC and Skybound, this season will focus on the survivors trying to rebuild their home base of Alexandria, while also dealing with their fellow survivors from the former strongholds of Kingdom and Hilltop — including Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her group, the Wardens.
"Alexandria has more people than it can manage to feed and protect. Their situation is dire as tensions heat up over past events and self-preservation rises to the surface within the ravaged walls," reads the synopsis. "They must secure more food while they attempt to restore Alexandria before it collapses like countless other communities they have come across throughout the years... More haggard and hungrier than ever before, they must dig deeper to find the effort and strength to safeguard the lives of their children, even if it means losing their own."
But just because the stakes are higher than they have ever been before, that doesn't mean The Walking Dead won't feel like the show fans fell in love with. As showrunner Angela Kang told Entertainment Weekly last year, the series will return to the "scope and scale" that first drew everyone in.
"[W]e’ll start seeing more stories again like the first episode — it's got everybody on Earth in the episode," she said. "And tons of zombies and lots of action and fun and intrigue, and locations we've never seen, and things like that. So just stylistically, there will be a change from these six [pandemic-shot bonus episodes] that we just watched back into our normal season."
Who's left standing?
The current lineup of survivors includes Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Princess (Paola Lázaro), Alden (Callan McAuliffe), Aaron (Ross Marquand), and of course, returning fan-favorite Maggie.
Though an early trailer has started rumors that the presumed-dead Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) might make an appearance in this last run of episodes, there has been no confirmation regarding this. There has also been no news as to whether Michonne (Danai Gurira) might reprise her role — especially since her character has gone off in search of Rick, who the other survivors don't know is still alive (with a series of movies in the works to eventually chronicle the rest of his adventure).
Who are the Commonwealth?
Would it really be the final season of The Walking Dead without one last hurdle to overcome? In this case, said hurdle is the Commonwealth, a network of communities in Ohio that come together to form one of the most advanced cities the survivors have ever encountered within the series.
It's a sharp contrast to what our current survivors are dealing with back in Alexandria, as not only does the Commonwealth have a functional system of government, it also has luxuries such as bakeries, tailors, butchers, and even a venue for sports and other forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, there are also some major downsides, including the massively disparate class system that is based on whatever jobs people had pre-lifechanging zombie apocalypse.
As it turns out, the general order is enforced by Stormtroopers an armor-covered militia that carries deadly, state of the art weapons and, in the comics at least, answers to a woman named Pamela Milton (she's set to be portrayed by actress Laila Robins in the show's final season).
But the most significant of them is Mercer (Michael James Shaw), a former Marine who leads this mini army and is conspicuously decked out in a red version of the gear that the rest of the soldiers wear. He plays a pretty significant role in the comics, right until the end, which is probably a sign that this final season might just be able to adapt its way to the very end of Kirkman, Moore, and Adlard's work.
Is this actually the end?
Not by a long shot! Not only are Daryl and Carol getting their own spin-off series that follows their adventures after the show ends, but there are also plans to return to Rick's story in the form of a trilogy of movies, though production has yet to start on them.
More than that, there are two spin-off shows set within the same universe. Fear the Walking Dead will kick off its seventh season on Oct. 17, while The Walking Dead: World Beyond, conceived as a limited series, will be returning for its second season on Oct. 3. There will also be plenty more Talking Dead, so fans can continue to deep dive into the world they love.
And if that still isn't enough, you can go back and catch up on The Walking Dead: Origins, a series of four specials that spotlights four of the survivors: Daryl, Carol, Maggie, and Negan. Each episode deep dives into that specific character's story, showcasing their respective journeys from the beginning till now, accompanied by voiceovers from the actors themselves.
The first episode of the final season of The Walking Dead airs Aug. 22 on AMC or Aug. 15. on AMC+.