Update: On the October 27 episode of Talking Dead, TWD producer Gale Anne Hurd gave us more info on the sanctuary and how it relates to the voice on the radio. "Those of you who've read the comic book might have an indication of what it could or could not be, but it offered sanctuary. As we know in this world sanctuary could be a very complicated thing. It could be someplace you want to go and really is what it says it is, or maybe it's not quite what's promised."
Way to keep us guessing, Gale! Read on below for some detailed information from the comics!
At the very end of The Walking Dead Season 4 extended trailer, Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese and Bob Stookey are driving somewhere, fiddling with the radio, when a female voice comes on saying, "Sanctuary ... those who arrive, survive."
As zombie apocalypse ads go, it's pretty good! But what is this sanctuary?
Spoiler alert! Major comic book spoilers ahead, which may or may not spoil some of the TV show plot.
As one fan broke it down, the best bets may be that this safe haven is located in Fort Benning, the Alexandria Safe-Zone, or just a trap — from The Governor or another dangerous group out there. Remember the pre-recorded “answer to infection” message from 28 Days Later? Those military guys promised a cure, but really they were just … well, watch the movie.
Fort Benning is where Rick’s group was originally headed after leaving the CDC and before going off track with Sophia and the farm. It's in Georgia, so it stands to reason they'd be close enough to pick up a signal. Yeah, they were told Fort Benning was overrun with walkers, but that came from the sketchy guys in the bar in Season 2. There's no reason to trust them. Besides, in the trailer, we see Michonne consulting a map somewhat close to the Fort Benning area. It's possible that map scene takes place after she hears the "sanctuary" radio tease.
If not Fort Benning, maybe it is the Alexandria Safe-Zone in Alexandria, Virginia, where Rick's group spends a good amount of time in the comic books.
In the comics, after leaving Woodbury and the prison, Rick and company reconnect with some folks at Hershel's farm (which was overrun by a herd and burned during the TV show's second season ) and meet a few new characters — Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene — who are on their way to Washington, D.C. Eugene had told his group he was a top government scientist who knew the origins of the zombie apocalypse, and Rick's group decides to go along with them.
On the way to D.C. they come across a group of cannibal survivors called The Hunters. Not a fun group but it is possible, on TV, The Hunters lure Rick’s group via a fake radio message. Maybe.
Anyway, it turns out Eugene was lying about being a government scientist, but close to D.C. they’re approached by a resident of the Alexandria Safe-Zone and invited to join. The Safe-Zone is a walled-in community with just under 40 other survivors when they arrive. It has families and kids, and seems idyllic. Rick ends up taking over leadership of Alexandria. There's also a nearby community called the Hilltop Colony and a place called The Kingdom run by “King” Ezekiel. They all partner to fight a ruthless group called The Saviors, led by Negan. Speaking of The Saviors, their base is actually called The Sanctuary, so … maybe.
Negan is probably a long way off in terms of the TV show, but the Season 4 extended trailer heavily hints at Rick’s group exiting the prison to find a safer place. It's possible at some point this season — maybe before the mid-season break, maybe after— the whole team leaves and hits the road again. Or maybe the show will go in a whole new direction with this "sanctuary." We'll see!
Any theories on the sanctuary? Please share below.
The Walking Dead Season 4 starts Sunday, October 13 on AMC.