‘Rick Grimes will smile’ in new season of ‘The Walking Dead’

Second half of Season Seven will resume this month

The Walking Dead‘s showrunner Scott M. Gimple has promised fans the second half of Season Seven will be wildly different to the first half and fans will finally get to see Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) smile again.

The first half of the seventh season was blighted by falling ratings and criticism from fans, with a 7 million drop in viewers in the US by the time the eighth episode, ‘Hearts Still Beating’, aired in December.

The season broke off for its traditional mid-season break on December 11. The final eight episodes will return to screens in the US on February 12.

Gimple said they will feel “very different” from the slow-burning first half. “It propels us into a very different half season from the one before it. Before the end of that very first episode back, you will see Rick Grimes smile,” he told Entertainment Weekly.

He also hinted that the season will reflect the all out war arc in the graphic novels and the returning episode alone will get fans excited again.

“The midseason premiere is a movie unto itself,” says Gimple. “Angela Kang wrote it, Greg Nicotero directed it, the cast knocked it out of the park – pretty much literally, you’ll see – and the crew pulled it all together, and it was a hell of a lot to pull together.”

He recently also said that the violence in the zombie drama is unlikely to be toned down despite criticism over its Season Seven premiere.

“The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason. The awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story,” he said.

“I don’t think like that’s the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show. It should be specific to a story and a purpose, and there was a purpose of traumatising these characters to a point where maybe they would have been docile for the rest of their lives, which was Negan’s point.”