*The Walking Dead comic book spoilers referenced ahead*
What happens if there is a cure to the zombie apocalypse? Just saying. It would change a lot. "The Walking Dead" has always referred to the human survivors, not the zombies/walkers/biters, so maybe the show could still go on. Not that we're really getting our hopes up for a cure. But it's possible.
At the end of The Walking Dead Season 1, Dr. Wet Blanket Jenner told our group no one had developed a cure. But in Season 4, we met the trio of Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), with Eugene introduced as a scientist with answers on the outbreak. Their mission is to get to Washington, D.C., so Mullet Man can connect with other experts. But they are now sidetracked at Terminus, in a train car with Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) group. Rick just wants a sanctuary for his family. No real mission beyond that.
But the Comic-Con trailer hinted to the cure story coming into play in a big way. Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) even seems to try to use the cure mission to save the group, and Gareth (Andrew J. West) mentions going to Washington to cure this thing. That’s certainly a new twist on the comic book story — since there is no Gareth in the book (he’s like a version of Chris in The Hunters, but Chris never went with them to Washington) and Bob Stookey was never with the Team Prison group. Will they do other twists on the comics … like, for example, will Eugene actually have answers on a cure?
That’s too spoilery to answer straight out, but — after the Comic-Con panel — TVLine asked showrunner Scott Gimple some big picture questions: Will we start to get some answers about what happened, how this started, is there a cure?
"In the comic book, it isn't really touched upon," Scott Gimple said. "Our show diverges from the comic book quite a bit. There is an aspect to these people's lives that — they're the ones that have to deal with the consequences. They're the ones that are out there after a disaster, surviving, not necessarily the people — at least Rick's group — who were like 'OK we have to cure this thing.' Abraham's group [is] totally different. Now that they are coming together, we are going to see the story twist in ways that we hadn't seen before. And roles are going to become very, very different than they've been before. There's going to be a lot of shifts this season."
Shifts? Roles are different? Will Abraham take a back seat, or will Rick? What other roles might change? In the comics, after they discover that Eugene is a fraud with no actual answers on the outbreak, they meet a recruiter for the Alexandria Safe-Zone, just outside of D.C.
Filming spoilers suggest the Safe-Zone storyline will enter the picture around the mid-season finale point, or a bit afterward, and we’ll stay there for a long time.
That would imply no cure, but we’re curious about how they decide to tell the story, and make it different from the comics. There are way more people on screen now than there were at this point in the books, so they will all influence things in their own ways. There was no Terminus in the books. No weird hospital place with Beth (and there was no Beth). So the story has already diverged a great deal, even if certain benchmarks have stayed in place. Spoilers suggest Terminus and the hospital place are connected; are they trying to develop a cure, through experimentation?
How do you see this cure storyline going? Do you hope they twist it enough so that there is hope? Do you think they’ll stick with Eugene being a fraud? Will the D.C. trio survive, as they do in the books (at least for a while), or perhaps will one of the twists be that Eugene, Rosita or even Abraham won't make it to the Safe-Zone? Something bad has to happen to make Abe cry the way he does in the trailer...
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres Sunday, October 12 on AMC.