The Walking Dead

Walking Dead’s Final Season Teases A Bigger Conflict Than Negan’s All-Out War

The final moments of The Walking Dead season 11, part 2 show Lance take control, teasing a way bigger conflict than even Negan's all-out war.

The final moments of The Walking Dead season 11, part 2 set up a conflict bigger than AMC’s zombie apocalypse has ever seen before – even including Negan’s “All Out War.” The Walking Dead’s survivors are no strangers to confrontation, going to war against the Governor, the Saviors, and the Whisperers across various seasons. By far the most expansive and bloody of those conflicts was Negan’s “All Out War,” in which the allied forces of Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom (later joined by Oceanside) waged war against Negan’s Sanctuary. The campaign lasted several weeks of in-universe time, and comprised multiple violent battles before Rick Grimes emerged victorious during the final stand.

The next fight is never far away in The Walking Dead, and season 11’s “Acts of God” acts as the prelude to a way bigger clash than our protagonists will be accustomed to. The Commonwealth’s Lance Hornsby – acting entirely on his own – forcibly occupies Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside, declaring all three official Commonwealth territory by hanging flags that evoke strong imagery of Nazi Germany. Whether Lance is just a power-mad villain or serving a larger purpose (the CRM, for instance) remains to be seen, but his invasion surely sets up the biggest battle The Walking Dead has ever seen for season 11’s final episodes.

When Maggie returns home to find Hilltop under Lance’s thumb, she’ll likely not be pleased. The same goes for every Alexandrian currently dwelling at the Commonwealth – Eugene, Aaron, Rosita, etc. – who believed Lance was helping fix their home, not declaring it his own territory. The Walking Dead season 11 could, therefore, see the heroes band together in an effort to liberate their homes – a premise that flips All Out War completely on its head. Although Negan subjugated smaller communities, he lacked the muscle to fully occupy them, instead relying on intimidation and demonstrations of force to keep Alexandria and the other settlements in line. Of course, this meant Rick’s allies held three communities from which to launch their assault against the Sanctuary. Entirely the opposite is happening in The Walking Dead season 11. The remaining survivors must reclaim their own communities from an enemy way more powerful and organized than the Saviors. They have no home to retreat to, and are fighting a villain who has, essentially, already won. It’s David vs. Goliath on a scale that makes The Walking Dead‘s Rick vs. Negan war look like a fair fight by comparison.

A brief trailer for The Walking Dead season 11, part 3 then hints toward an even wilder escalation. Footage shows the flames of revolution burning hot in the Commonwealth, followed by Negan paying a visit to Mercer. If the Alexandrians currently stirring up trouble (Eugene’s band of rebels, Carol from her position of seniority) help overthrow Pamela Milton and install Mercer as a fairer leader, the Commonwealth might then lend a hand kicking Lance out of Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside. It’s feasible that Commonwealth soldiers will be standing on either side of season 11’s final battlefield – one half led by Mercer to help the good guys, the other led by Lance to defend his new acquisitions. That sounds like a war big enough to attract attention – maybe even prompting the return of Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, who arrives just in time to show Lance he screwed with the wrong people.

Wherever The Walking Dead season 11 goes next, the TV series has already deviated wildly from the comic books. Robert Kirkman’s original Commonwealth arc ended in revolution and the deposing of Pamela Milton, but Lance Hornsby taking over all three protagonist communities is a wholly made-for-TV storyline. Perhaps The Walking Dead‘s producers decided their finale required a bigger, more climactic battle than the comics could deliver, so invented Lance’s three-pronged occupation to ensure more bloodshed and higher stakes than any season finale prior. However The Walking Dead‘s ending shakes out, the sight of Lance Hornsby proudly declaring Alexandria, Hilltop and Oceanside as Commonwealth territory promises an eruption of violence beyond anything the zombie apocalypse has seen.

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