'The Walking Dead' season 7 spoilers: Creator Robert Kirkman talks about new installment

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Only a couple of hours left until the six-month collective agony of fans over the cliffhanger featured in season 6’s finale last April ends. The stress of trying to pinpoint the identity of the victim or maybe, victims of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) beloved bat has been weighing down on the shoulders of viewers during the whole waiting game. However, creator Robert Kirkman shared that the dread is only starting with the season premiere as the Saviors and their suave leader can be expected to linger a bit more in this year’s overall arc.

“It’s a very dangerous season. We hit the ground running with the first episode and that really sets the tone for this. Negan is ever-present,” Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter while promoting the upcoming season. “This isn’t the end of his story; this isn’t any kind of singular event. This is the introduction of a new status quo in this world and it’ll make the show more dangerous than it’s ever been. And that’s going to continue throughout the season. I said leading up to the end of season six that Negan changes everything in every way you can imagine. And season seven will prove that.”

It only makes sense to flesh out “The Walking Dead’s” newest big bad given the kind of impression made by his original debut in the comic book iteration of the story. Furthermore, a lot of lead-ups and teasers have been released by the folks behind the series which is an indication that bigger things are set to materialize for Negan and his band of crusaders.

What makes it more interesting is that, aside from Negan, the world will be a bit bigger as other characters from the comic books are tipped to make their TV debut. This includes Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and his massive pet tiger who will presumably complicate matters in the ongoing battle between Negan and Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group.

Grim as it may be, especially with the looming death/s in the season opener, people involved with the show have been reiterating that season 7 will be a hopeful installment. Ironic as it may seem, the setback brought about by Negan’s arrival is tipped to have the crew, whoever will live to survive, better.

“The Walking Dead” season 7 will premiere on Oct. 23 and will continue to air every Sunday, 9 p.m. ET on AMC.