After a first half of season seven that began with the gruesome deaths of two fan fave characters and continued apace with an unrelenting misery, you'd be forgiven for expecting The Walking Dead to return this month to finish out its run with the same pervasive sense of helplessness. But, as it turns out, that expectation might be all wrong.
In a new promo for the midseason premiere, we're given a glimpse into the growing anti-Negan resistance as its being spearheaded by the formerly resigned Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and as the stars and producers describe this second half of the the season, a word is uttered that hasn't been associated with the post-apocalyptic zombie series in quite some time: Hope.
"You see that hope that we maybe, just might, can," Danai Gurira explained. "You're seeing people in a whole new place of strategizing, but really against magnificent odds."
"They still don't have the weapons. They don't have the manpower," EP Gale Ann Hurd reminded. "But they've got the will."
They may have the will, but they've still got to find the way. "It is a very different fight," Sonequa Martin-Green—the newly-named star of CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery—teased. "It can't be won with just physical force."
Of course, just because Rick and his crew have decided to put up a fight, that doesn't mean it'll be easy. "What we're building toward the end of seven is Rick trying to re-emerge and find himself again, and Negan is still there with a big smile on his face, waiting," Jeffrey Dean Morgan warned. "So, you know, we're getting to a breaking point."
EP Greg Nicotero, who directed the midseason premiere and promised EW a "stupendous" action sequence to rival some of the series' best, told the publication that the big return will be continue the joyous reunion between Rick, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) that took place at the end of December's midseason finale.
"I think episode nine is one of the best of the season, by far, in terms of storytelling, in terms of performances, in terms of audience expectations of seeing the band back together and putting our group back on their feet again," he teased. "It's very exciting and quite a bit of fun, and the season builds and builds up to an absolutely thrilling finale."
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. on AMC.