Negan's deadly blow to one of Rick Grimes's innocent crew members has certainly created hatred for him among fans, but according to show creator Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead season 7 will be 'epic' and explore the 'extremely interesting' lifestyle of the notorious Savior leader.

While Grimes dominated the first six seasons as the leader of the survival group, the upcoming season will be tough on him as he will be exposed to multiple survival groups thriving with leaders capable of safeguarding their team in the post-apocalyptic zombie world where supplies are insufficient.

"I mean, the word is epic. The show is expanding. We're introducing the Kingdom, we already have the Hilltop, we're going to be exploring more of the Saviors and the Sanctuary that they live in and more of what goes on around Negan, what his average daily life is, which is extremely interesting. What we're finding is there's a lot of civilisation out there. There are smaller groups here and there that actually have been thriving and it gets to be a little exciting because we're going to be seeing how they've been surviving, and a lot of them have been getting by in a much different way than Rick and his group," he told Entertainment Weekly.

Grimes and Co have travelled in search of a sanctuary till the last six seasons but season 7 will reveal how other leaders created sanctuaries for their groups and even flourished. Previously, the show creators have predicted an extremely difficult season for the Alexandria safe zone leader and the premiere episode will shed light on his self esteem post the much awaited Negan scene featuring major deaths. It remains to be seen whether Rick will succumb to the traumas or will rise as a powerful leader again.

"So we're meeting these people that have lived in this apocalyptic situation for as long as Rick Grimes and his crew, who we've been following since day one, but we haven't seen their evolution and their progression. And so some of them grow to be like Negan's group, some of them grow to be like Ezekiel's group, some of them grow to be like Gregory's group at the Hilltop, and the differences between these groups, and their ways of life, is going to be a lot of fun to explore this season," Kirkman added.

The Walking Dead season 7 premiere episode will air on Sunday 23 October at 9/8 CT on AMC.