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‘Walking Dead’ cliffhanger leaves fans in dark until October

/ 12:10 PM July 23, 2016

SAN DIEGO—Ratings juggernaut “The Walking Dead” revealed on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) fans will have to wait until October 23 to see how one of the most talked-about cliffhangers in cable TV history works out.

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Showrunner Scott Gimple announced the date for the season seven opener at a discussion panel featuring cast and crew at the annual San Diego Comic-Con fanfest.

READ: Comic-Con builds buzz for ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Thrones’

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Viewers in 125 countries across the world will be able to see the episode, which is distributed internationally by Fox, within 24 hours of its US debut.

“It’s absolutely worth the wait,” executive producer Robert Kirkman promised of the hotly-anticipated episode, directed by fellow exec producer Greg Nicotero.

The focus of season six was the debut of arch-nemesis Negan, who is seen in the comic books beating one of the best-loved characters to death.

The producers of cable TV’s most successful show ever have generated huge buzz among its millions of fans by building up to the moment.

Season six teased audiences over whether the same character would be on the end of Negan’s barbed-wire-covered baseball bat, “Lucille.”

But it wrapped amid huge controversy with the question unanswered, in an excruciating cliffhanger that sparked outrage online among who felt they were being manipulated.

A packed crowd in Comic-Con’s 6,500-seat main venue was treated to new footage of season seven, although there were no big clues on the identity of Negan’s victim.

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Instead, fans were offered glimpses at The Kingdom, a group from Kirkman’s comic books, and its leader Ezekiel and his pet tiger.

Jeffery Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, opened the session walking behind seated cast members, menacingly wielding Lucille.

Among the stars at the panel were Andrew Lincoln — who plays the central character, Rick Grimes — Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun.

“We all link arms, it’s a really shitty start to the season, but hang on because we are heading to one of the greatest showdowns of the show,” said Lincoln.

Nicotero, the show’s most prolific director over its six seasons, said helming the new episode was a surprisingly intense experience.

“It affected me in a way I didn’t expect. Rick was reduced to no control,” he said.

Executive producer Gale Ann Hurd promised a growing “Walking Dead” universe, with “more people we haven’t met living in the apocalypse.”

“We’re meeting both friend and foe,” she said.

Season seven will be broken up, with the show returning for the final eight episodes of the run in February.

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TAGS: Comic-Con, King Ezekiel, Negan, San Diego Comic-Con, TV, Walking Dead, Zombies
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