Watching The Walking Dead has never been a sea of rainbows and butterflies. The world the show inhabits is bleak and unrelenting. Still, from the look of things, Season 7 is going to be incredibly dark. We’re going to start off where the Season 6 cliffhanger left us. Negan is going to beat at least one member of Rick’s group to death.

Producers don’t necessarily want to completely destroy the audience’s emotions, though. Therefore, executive producer Greg Nicotero says the Morgan and Carol storyline serves as a counterpunch to the Negan storyline.

A Respite from Negan

“Based on how emotionally draining the first episode is, you do need that,” says Nicotero. “This show has never been as relentless as it is now, and we have to be aware of the trauma that we are putting our viewers through. You gotta give ‘em a moment, you gotta give ‘em a break to catch their breath. It’s one thing to knock ‘em down and keep pummeling them; that’s not really our intent. But Negan’s not a good dude and our world is not in a good place, so you need that.”

Negan's Weapon (Credit: AMC)Negan’s Weapon (Credit: AMC)

“I think it’s safe to say that having Carol and Morgan not be in the direct line of fire certainly provides a little opportunity to take a breath and again, visit with characters that we love. We love Melissa McBride as Carol, and we love Lennie James as Morgan; they’ve been with us since the beginning, so there’s a great familiarity with them, and we’ve watched these two characters go through a myriad of emotions and fantastic character arcs.”

The Kingdom

Last we saw Carol and Morgan, they were rescued by two men on horseback. Comic book fans know they’ll be headed to The Kingdom. It’s a new community, run by King Ezekiel and his tiger, Shiva.

But both Morgan and Carol are in very fragile states emotionally. How will that play out this season?

An Emotional Journey

“We teed it up pretty well last season; Morgan spent the entire Season 6 refusing to pull the trigger and wanting there to be another option, and in that last episode, he’s forced to pull the trigger – either he pulls the trigger or Carol dies,” says Nicotero. “He does what is needed to be done, and the repercussions in terms of what his beliefs are, what his challenges are, that’s a great place for us to find him this season.”

“Carol’s made no attempt to hide her agenda, she’s left before. She’s always had it in her mind that if she can’t kill anymore. She can’t be around people that she cares about, because it’s taking its toll on her. So she’s willing to walk away from the people that she loves to try and save her soul and try to stop killing, to the point where in the finale last year, she was like ‘kill me, I don’t care.’ All that did was infuriate the Savior. So I think we have some great opportunities and some actually mind-boggling performances from the two of those actors, because of who they are and how they interrelate. I can’t wait to see people’s reactions to the first time Carol sees Morgan after she wakes up, ‘cause it’s interesting.”

Carol and Morgan are two of the most interesting characters on The Walking Dead. It will be interesting to see how their separate storyline plays out this season.

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