Even if you haven't read the source material, you still know that "The Walking Dead" comes equipped with a ton of history as a comic book.
The show differs from, say, "Game of Thrones," in that it's not a slavish adaptation of its original story. "Walking Dead" has made some bold departures from the comics throughout its run, some minor tweaks as well, and even some wholesale cuts from what's come before. There's a mixing-and-matching approach to the material that makes watching "Walking Dead" an unpredictable experience for even the most devout comic book fan.
Still, people who know Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard's comics inside and out have an idea of some of the signposts the show might hit in the future — events ranging from possible to inevitable, and awesome and soul-crushing alike.
Here's a sample of what might be in the future, but be warned: SPOILERS ahead.
So Long, DouglasCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
In the comics, the leader of Alexandria is named Douglas Monroe, not Deanna. He does not make it. Will the same fate befall Deanna? If it does, and it's anything like Douglas' death, it won't be pretty.
Hands FreeCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Early on in the "Walking Dead" comics, Rick Grimes loses his hand at the hands of the Governor. It never happened on the show during the Woodbury arc, but it's still on the table — potentially literally. And if it's not? Look for someone else's hand to take a hike very, very soon.
Eye For An EyeCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Rick isn't the only Grimes to lose a major body part in the "Walking Dead" comics. One of the most horrific acts of violence in the entire series comes when Carl Grimes catches a bullet in the eye and nearly dies in the process. Will the "Walking Dead" show go through with such a gruesome development? Maybe not — but if they pull the trigger, they will pull it soon.
Here Comes JesusCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Consider this one confirmed: Jesus is coming to "The Walking Dead." No, not that Jesus, but a man with his likeness and name all the same. He's a survivor from another community called the Hilltop, he comes equipped with awesome ninja stealth skills, and he's one of the best new characters in the comics. Expect him to rival Daryl Dixon and the other great badasses of "Walking Dead" lore, pretty much from the moment he arrives.
Meet NeganCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
If you thought the Governor and Gareth were bad, just wait. You have not come even close to meeting the meanest villain this series has to offer.
Meet LucilleCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
She's a baseball bat wrapped up in barbed wire, and she's the instrument of death Negan uses to kill — and seriously, FINAL SPOILER ALERT over here — Glenn. It's an awful moment, and when it happens, it's going to crush you. Even if it's not Glenn who dies, someone's getting crushed; there's no other way to make the Negan introduction happen.
All Out WarCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Alexandria and Negan's Saviors don't exactly get along, for all the aforementioned reasons and more, and it leads to a war that makes the Woodbury conflict look like an afternoon spent with the Oculus Rift. This is the real deal stuff, with real casualties and consequences for the people we love the most. It might not happen this season, but it's an inevitable part of the story, at least if the show sticks close to the comic book script.
Future ProblemsCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Without spoiling all the particulars, the "Walking Dead" comics eventually skip forward two years, offering all-new takes on all of our favorite characters… well, the ones still alive, anyway, like Old Man Rick, Angsty Adolescent Carl and Pirate Michonne.
Wait, Pirate Michonne?Charlie Adlard and Image Comics
YEP! Nothing more, yer honor!
Whispers In The WoodsCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
Oh, remember how I said Negan is the meanest villain of the series? That might be true, but he's not the scariest. That distinction belongs to Alpha and the Whisperers, a group of humans who walk among walkers, disguised in skin suits. They are TERRIFYING in the comics, and I cannot even imagine what they will look like in Greg Nicotero's hands.
The Stakes Are RealCharlie Adlard and Image Comics
All too real for a few unlucky souls. Let's just say that "The Walking Dead" has a whole lot of soul-crushing, head-lopping heartbreak to draw from in its source material — and given where things are in the comics right now, life for Rick's gang is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.