‘The Walking Dead’ returns with several big questions to answer

CLEVELAND, Ohio – You could make the case that Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead” has more loose threads than any midseason premiere in the show’s history.

Some of that has to do with behind the scenes drama, like actress Lauren Cohan’s contract negotiations and the fact there’s a new showrunner arriving for Season 9.

But the on-screen details are just as messy. We know a major character will die during Sunday’s episode. But we have questions about that and several other things before the second half of Season 8 begins.

[SPOILERS for the first half of Season 8 ahead]

How exactly will Carl die?

We know Carl will die at some point during Sunday’s episode. But teasers for the midseason premiere give him a lot of screen time. It’s clear that walker bite will take its time working through Carl’s body. The real question is – how will it all end? Will Rick or Michonne put a knife into Carl’s head, preventing him from turning into a walker. Will Carl take matters into his own hands? Either way, it’s sure to be one of the most emotional moments in “TWD” history.

What was up with those flash-forwards?
I suspect we’ll finally get an answer to what the flash-forwards from the Season 8 premiere were all about. They showed Rick and his family in some sort of utopian society that couldn’t possibly exist, right? Of course not, considering Carl is about to die. But the series hasn’t followed up on that. We’d also like an answer to that helicopter Rick spotted. But we’re not holding our breaths on that one.

What is Morgan’s path to “Fear the Walking Dead?”

It’s been revealed that Morgan Jones will join the cast of “Fear the Walking Dead” and that his character will go directly from the events at the end of Season 8 into the new season of “The Walking Dead” spinoff. But how does that work? You can expect a huge time jump for “Fear” that should reinvent the show. After all, Madison is the only main character guaranteed to be alive when “Fear’s” fourth season begins.

What is the fate of the Scavengers?

If you read Internet spoilers, you probably know things aren’t looking good for the junkyard gang. The Saviors are all but guaranteed to seek revenge on Jadis’ crew. But actress Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Jadis, was promoted to a series regular, which means she’s not going anywhere. There’s some speculation that Jadis could lose her group, only to pop up in a future season as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers from the comic book. It almost makes too much sense not to happen.

Will Ezekiel die?

The first half of Season 8 ended with the Saviors lieutenant taking The Kingdom’s leader Ezekiel hostage. But Morgan is on the case, setting up a potential rescue mission. Teasers for the forthcoming episodes suggest Carol will also get in on the action. Will they get there in time to save Ezekiel? Better question – How could a dream team of Morgan and Carol ever fail?

Where the heck is Heath?

Will we ever see Heath again? It’s looking less and less likely. Actor Corey Hawkins left “The Walking Dead” during Season 7 to lead Fox’s “24: Legacy” reboot. But that series was cancelled. “The Walking Dead” left Heath’s fate open. But the series has offered no clues as to when (or if) he’ll return someday.

Will the main group finally accept Dwight?

Daryl and Tara want Dwight dead. The only reason the double agent is alive is because he gives Rick and company their best shot at taking down Negan. Once that happens (and it WILL happen), could Daryl and the rest of the group finally accept Dwight as part of their team? He did kill Denise. However, does taking down the Saviors make up for that?

Will Negan die?

This might be the biggest question in terms of “The Walking Dead’s” future. I thought about titling this question, “How merciful will Rick be?” Because that’s really what this comes down to. Rick made a promise to Negan that he’s going to die. But Negan’s story continues after the All-Out War in the comic book. If the series follows the comic, Rick will show Negan mercy. However, the villain hasn’t caught on with viewers as much. In fact, he’s been downright annoying. It might be a wise move for the show to cut ties with Negan and move on to another story. But producers haven’t always made the wisest choice.