The Walking Dead season seven was the darkest run to date, with Rick and the survivors crushed by the tyranny of Negan and his Saviors.
Many criticised the glacial pace of the season, which often saw storylines disappear for episodes at a time.
There were several poorly-received bottle episodes, which focused on a small handful of characters carrying out insular missions.
The cast and crew have promised that season will right these wrongs, teasing an action-packed run filled with twists.
The series returns on October 22 in the US on AMC and a day later in the UK on Fox, with the season premiere also marking the 100th episode.
With just over a month to go until the season begins, here is a round-up of everything we know so far.
The Walking Dead season 8: Rick sports a different look than usual in the new season
Showrunner Scott Gimple has hinted that season eight will rapidly ramp up the pace of the story and drop the much-maligned bottle episodes.
Season eight is a little more unusual for the show
“Because of the narrative that we’re following, the story this season is really spread out among all of the characters,” he told TV Line.
“And the story shifts quite a bit in single episodes between lots of different characters on a consistent basis, which is a little more unusual for the show.”
The writer also hinted at some unexpected pairings to come.
“We’ll see characters affect one another that we haven’t seen affect one another before, or even just thrown together than we haven’t seen thrown together,” he explained.
Fans of the series were shocked when the first trailer for season eight showed Rick with grey hair, a beard and a cane.
But those who have followed Robert Kirkman’s comic books already know to expect a major twist.
Season eight will draw from Kirkman’s All Out War series, which saw the survivors team up to take on Negan.
After the battle was over, the story jumped ahead by about two years.
Gimple confirmed that the series will follow this timeline, saying: “For the people who read the comics, they’re going to be expecting this.”
He also hinted that viewers will miss the birth of Maggie’s baby due to the jump.
“It will not be born in season eight,” he said. “But anything’s possible.”
The Walking Dead season 8: Negan will return in the new season
All Out War
The cast have promised an epic battle against Negan, with Chandler Rigg (who plays Carl), teasing: “There’s going to be lots of explosions, lots of killing, a lot more Negan.
“Lots of fighting. Lots of cool stuff. It’s really, really fun this season.”
Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick) added: “It’s going to be big, but it’s also going to be terrifying. And I mean that from the very depths of my cynical soul.”
Assuming that the series follows the same path as the comics, here’s how the war plays out. (Warning – huge spoilers ahead.)
The Walking Dead season 8: Chandler Rigg (Carl) has promised ‘lots of cool stuff’
As the long and bloody battle draws to a close, Dwight double crosses Negan and helps Rick to slash the villain’s throat.
Negan manages to launch a last-ditch attack of Rick, breaking his leg before passing out.
Rick orders Harlan to save Negan’s life, to prove that their society can be civilised again.
Two years later Rick’s leg has healed, although he walks with a cane.
Negan is alive and is being kept prisoner in Alexandria, and later becomes an ally to Rick.
A new threat appears in the form of the Whisperers – a group of survivors who cover themselves in walker skins and target the living.