If it's a day ending in -y, well, by golly, it must be time for some hand-flapping about what's going to happen when The Walking Dead returns on February 9. It seems like AMC has been ramping up their marketing efforts lately, with the release of a fairly exciting midseason premiere trailer and some gushing praise about the second half of season 4 from the crew.

Of course, it's their job to promote the show -- can you imagine if they were like, "Eh, can't lie, these episodes kind of suck"? -- but if the Walking Dead's producer/special effects guru Greg Nicotero is to be believed, the second half will not only tie up any lingering questions from the start of the season, it's going to feel more like the first season in terms of how much danger the characters are in. Plus, it'll be, and I quote, "really satisfying" to watch.

Greg Nicotero did a great Q&A with Channel Guide Magazine recently, and he shared just enough about the final eight episodes of season 4 to whet our appetite. He confirms that after the prison battle, our survivors will be separated and on the road:

We always knew that at some point the prison was not going to be a viable place to live anymore, and it was of course a conscious decision.[Showrunner] Mr. [Scott] Gimple’s crafting of the back eight episodes, where everybody scatters and you don’t know where everybody lands and you don’t know who’s with who certainly is going to lend itself to some fantastic storytelling

As for what that'll be like, he says the vibe will be similar to the early episodes:

I feel like Episode 9 and onward really harkens back to the first season of The Walking Dead, because if you think about Season 2, they were on Hershel’s farm. In Season 3 and half of Season 4, they had the prison and Woodbury. So this is the first time that they’re out in the world again. So it’s the first time that we really get that sense of how big the world is and how unprotected people are in the wilderness.

Oh, and apparently episode 9 will be verrrrrrrry familiar to comics fans:

I directed Episode 9 and it was written by Robert, and it’s probably the closest adaptation to two issues of the comic book that we’ve ever done. So for me, I’m dying for people to see it because it’s such a logical progression of our story.

Yup, there's a moment in the trailer that definitely looks like it came straight from the comics, minus the cussing. Here's Carl freaking out over a collapsed Rick in the comics:


And here's the TV version:

As for the various loose ends in season 4 so far (what will happen when Carol returns? Was Lizzie the one who was feeding walkers at the prison? Was Carol really the one who killed Karen and David? Is baby Judith dead or alive?), Nicotero says big revelations are coming in the second half:

The beauty of Season 4, in my opinion, is that every single moment is there for a reason. Stuff that we shot in the first episode this year pays off later, and it’s like each character has a beginning, a middle and an end. It’s really satisfying. Scott Gimple has really steered our ship in the right direction. Scott knows what’s going to happen in Season 5 already. He probably already knows what’s going to happen in Season 6.

How excited are you for the Walking Dead to return?


Image via AMC