After an agonising six-month wait, The Walking Dead has dropped the first footage from season seven – barring the briefest of snippets we've seen in trailers so far.
Released at New York Comic Con, this was an entire scene that takes place AFTER the big Negan kill – and while it's frustratingly brief, the chilling sequence gives away more than you think...
We've pulled apart all 200 seconds for clues as to the identity of egan's victim, and what's going to happen next.
1. Rick survives
So let's get the obvious out of the way first: Rick Grimes is not Negan's victim. Alright, so we never really thought he would be: even if he wasn't the show's lead, remember Negan ordering his goons to "cut [Carl's] eye out and feed it to his father" if anyone interfered with his beating?
Nonetheless, this footage is the first absolutely concrete proof that Rick doesn't buy it. Not that he's out of the woods yet...
2. Is Rick about to lose his hand?
Fans of the Walking Dead comic will know that Rick loses his right hand – though it's actually the Governor who lops it off, so the TV series has long since passed that point in the narrative.
That, coupled with creator Robert Kirkman saying he was "adamant" that the TV show shouldn't cut off Rick's hand – purely for practical reasons – had us thinking that his paw had escaped the chop.
But this scene has us wondering if Rick's horrific injury is back on the table, as an axe-wielding Negan decides to teach his defiant opponent a lesson.
What's going to happen in that trailer? Nothing good, that's for sure. And all of Negan's talk about a "right hand" is making us queasy.
3. Is Maggie the victim?
Eagle-eyed fans have already spotted the blood splatter on Rick's right cheek – and who was positioned directly to Rick's right when Negan began his beatdown?
So does this mean that The Walking Dead is waving goodbye to Lauren Cohan? There's even some speculation that we see Maggie's battered engagement ring lying amidst the blood and guts left over from Negan's attack.
There is another possibility, however...
4. Does Abraham take the hit?
Could it be Sgt Ford (Michael Cudlitz) bidding farewell to this mortal coil? There's plenty of evidence to suggest that he's our victim.
First: the blood on Rick. Surely if Maggie was killed, he'd have more than a little fleck of gore on his cheek? Maybe it's Abe – next to Maggie, further from Rick – who got the bat?
Plus: Negan very heavily implies that he's just executed Rick's "right hand man" – and Abraham absolutely fits that description.
As for the ring (if it even is a ring)? There's a fan theory doing the rounds that Ford was planning to propose to his beloved Sasha.
5. What's become of Daryl?
Norman Reedus has hinted that his encounter with Negan will teach Daryl that "mistakes will end your life" – but surely our favourite rogue isn't for the chop?
Certainly, a brief glimpse of what appears to be Daryl's blanket, discarded on the ground, doesn't bode well.
If you'll remember, Daryl was using the blanket after being shot and wounded by Negan's goon Dwight – and we can think of one very dark reason as to why he might not need it any more.
6. Who is Simon?
"Simon's my right-hand man. Having one of those is important. I mean, what do you have left without 'em?"
For all his bad qualities – and they are substantial – Negan seems awful sweet on his pal Simon. But who is this most favoured of henchmen?
Simon (played by Steven Ogg) debuted in season six's finale, 'Last Day on Earth' – though for that episode, he was credited simply as 'Lead Savior'.
It was he who led the Saviours in their pursuit of Rick's party, driving our survivors into Negan's clutches. He also rocks an impressive moustache.
If you're looking for further spoilers, though, you're out of luck: there's no direct comic book counterpart to Simon, though the closest equivalent is Connor, a lieutenant of the Saviours.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c and to FOX in the UK on Monday, October 24 at 9pm.
(Article re-posted from Digital Spy)