What we know about The Walking Dead season 7

After ending season six with the biggest cliffhanger ever, Deadheads are clamoring for any clues as to what to expect in October 2016 for AMC's The Walking Dead. Rest assured, in the opening episode of season seven, we'll finally learn who met the mean end of Lucille. "Season 6 ended on that note, and Season 7's going to pick up right where we left off," Jeffrey Dean Morgan told IGN. "We're going to see who's on the other end of that bat and go from there." The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman also hinted that it's "a character beloved to everyone."

Still, don't expect to figure it out before October. Showrunner Scott Gimple insisted to TV Line, "I believe there's no way [to figure out who Negan killed]. There are a couple of things in there that might help people possibly limit the amount of people who are vulnerable, [but] I truly don't think there's a way to puzzle it out definitively." Gimple also revealed that AMC is taking extra precautions against spoilers. "It is very, very difficult nowadays. We are working hard to protect [the reveal]—I sure hope it doesn't leak in any way, but the world is what the world is." Here's what we know so far—and please, beware of spoilers if you're not caught up with the show or with the comics!

Whoever dies will change the group dynamic

Scott Gimple explained that he knew for a long time which character he wanted Negan to kill in the finale because there's a long-term storyline at play for the series. "It's about those deaths meaning something to the story, to the other characters. I know that what's coming up is going to change everything with the story, whether it's fairly new or a fairly OG character," he told IGN. "There is a long-running plan to this show. Characters will meet their end, but also some characters will not meet their end—at least, for a while. There are no immortal characters, I don't mean to say that." That's fine, Mr. Gimple, but remember the popular t-shirt phrase: "If Daryl dies, we riot."

The premiere is going to be gory

Gimple revealed that the season seven premiere will echo the comics in its gore when Negan's first kill with Lucille is finally revealed. "I've known for a while what is in 701, and presenting what occurs, to show what happened in full force, is the beginning of the next story," he said to IGN. "To the showing, it's an incredible work of gore by Charlie Adlard in the book. How we show that on TV, I'm certain that we will be pushing some boundaries with it." Translation: Brace yourself. There will be blood…and maybe brains.

Rick will be a mess

Remember when Andrew Lincoln told Entertainment Weekly that the season six finale made him sick after he read the script? That's because he has a whole new job to do. Gone is the proud, badass Rick Grimes, and in his place is, well, a wreck. "It's over. Everything [Rick] stood for is over," Lincoln told Variety. "It hurt me, reading it. It hurt me, because he also feels responsible. He's put these people—through his own pride perhaps or single-mindedness—he's put everybody's life in danger." Hopefully, Rick finds a way.

"I'm so used to playing someone who had a way out or had an answer and I had to play a man who got to his knees. The joy of playing Rick has been trying to finely calibrate what it is to be a leader. He saw a problem, worked it out, makes mistakes, recalibrates and then that works for a time. This felt like a demolishing of all of this work that had happened over six years. [Negan] has got a baseball bat and he's smashing everything I've fought for," Lincoln added. Based on what Morgan made in Alexandria this season, there's certainly a path to the post-Saviors plot that happened in the comics.

We'll find out what happens to Maggie

Gimple was coy when asked about what happens to the sick, pregnant Maggie, who was almost incapacitated in the finale. "I don't want to say exactly what it is, but the exact diagnosis will be shared, one way or another. We'll find out one way or another what happened," he said to IGN. Here's to hoping little Glenn Jr. turns out healthy.

There will be a central theme

Gimple told TV Line that The Walking Dead season seven will have an overlying message. "A big part of it is, 'How do you begin again?' The world is not what they thought it was," he said. "How do you basically start over in this new world? All of these characters—even the [ones] that weren't in that lineup—are in a position where they will learn the world isn't what they thought it was and it will challenge them as far as how they choose to move forward and who they want to be." It's going to be tough seeing the Rick and the Alexandrians do work for the Saviors, knowing that Negan killed one of the community's leaders.

We'll catch up with Carol and Morgan

Let's be real: Carol is sort of becoming the new Carl, because no one can find her. There's a reason behind that, and Gimple says we'll start to understand her better in season seven. "She had reached a point where she was actually comfortable with dying. She has a road to go down and she wants to be alone. I don't think that Morgan has necessarily settled things," Gimple told IGN. "He was conflicted starting episode 7… Neither one of them wants to kill because they feel the weight of it. They recognize they have to." Morgan and Carol already broke their newfound no-killing rules, but will they realize that this world has broken down to the basic principle of kill or be killed?

Heath comes back

Though Corey Hawkins is a lead on the 24 reboot, have no fear. Heath, who's still on a supply run with Tara, is returning. Gimple told TV Line that we'll "absolutely" see him again and that he even has a special episode in mind for the actor.

We'll explore the Kingdom

Remember how Morgan ran into those armored guys who looked a lot like members of the Kingdom from the comics? Well, that's because they are. Gimple told IGN, "In the next half season, the world is going to open up even more…Those guys may or may not have been from the Kingdom, and we may or may not see Ezekiel, but if we do see the Kingdom, it will be a big reveal and it will be another new world to inhabit and explore." As for Ezekiel and his infamous tiger, Shiva? Gimple teased, "I would say in a really cheeky way that we can have a lot of things. People are going to have to wait and see. If I were just watching the show, I'd want to see that tiger!" It sounds like we'll be seeing the Kingdom's Siegfried and Roy-inspired leader after all.

Negan is here to stay

You'll get to know Negan, but don't expect any flashback episodes like with the Governor. Gimple told TV Line, "The guy you see is the guy he is. There won't be this [big] 'behind the mask' reveal." Jeffrey Dean Morgan hinted that Negan will be a presence in season eight as well, saying "You're going to see Negan do some stuff in the next year or two that's not going to be very nice." Referring back to what Morgan made in Alexandria this season, we can imagine Negan hanging around for a few more seasons.