the walking dead
Who did Negan kill in season 6? AMC

A lot have been said about Negan's victims ahead of The Walking Dead season 7, but no one is talking about Rick Grimes, the leader of Alexandria safe zone, who has gone lengths to protect his group members. So far fans are confident that Andrew Lincoln's character will not face the wrath of the baseball bat Lucille.

But that doesn't bring peace to Rick as show producer Greg Nicotero has hinted at rough time for him after the fatal blow of the notorious Savior leader. In an interview with Yahoo, the executive producer also divulged premiere episode secrets.

"The season premiere really redefines grief. It redefines pain, and emotion, and if you think watching the finale that you are already at rock bottom with these people, you've got a lot further to go," he told the website.

The season 6 finale was not well received by fans for its dark ending, that failed to show the face of Alexandria safe zone member who was beaten to death. It can be Glen, Maggie, Michonne or anyone kneeling before Negan.

"This season's intense," Nicotero warns and request fans to stay prepared for a darker season. "There's not really a lot of let up. The show continues to get darker, and that's something that we had always planned from day one, is that we want the show to be dark, and we want the show to be different."

"With the introduction of Negan, it gives us the perfect palate and the perfect opportunity to explore something that we've never explored before," he says.

Rick's cruel handling of situations has always made his team insecure about his leadership and his final act of killing a Savior member has brought them to Negan's court of justice, where the rule is an eye for an eye.

"The Savior leader is 'the world is a much, much bigger place'. You have a guy like Rick who ends Season 6 with, 'Oh yeah, if they want to deal, you just tell them to come talk to me…' For him to be in the position that he's left in, on his knees… it's rough," concludes the producer.

The Walking Dead season 7 will premiere in the US on 23 October at 9pm on AMC.