Since this has been scattered about, I'd figure I'd compile it into one thread. This takes into account the "chess board" theory and the "mirror universe" theory. Scott Gimple is an accomplished chess player. Knowing this, it's interesting that Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Michael Cudlitz have recently referred to the interplay between Rick and Negan as a game of chess. "It's a chess game for Negan: Do you take out the strongest guy to prove a point? Or the weakest to show you don't care — which shows you're even more twisted? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe, directed at each person, [allowed Negan] to look in their eyes and see who he was dealing with." - Michael Cudlitz "One thing I will say about Negan is he’s no dummy, you know? In a game of chess, he’s two moves ahead." - Jeffrey Dean Morgan "Where Negan and Rick go from here is going to be a bit of a chess game for a while. Negan is a move or two ahead of Rick right now. It's not over for Rick. Negan is just starting the breaking-in process of Rick." - Jeffrey Dean Morgan "It's a chess game and Negan is going to do anything he can to get the advantage. Negan having Daryl makes Rick think, too. Negan is playing a couple cards, and you can look at it a couple different ways. Negan always has a couple balls in the air and Daryl is one of them." - Jeffrey Dean Morgan At the end of 7.01, there was an interesting hypothetical future scene with everyone seated at a picnic table. The seating arrangement piqued the interest of many since it was a bit unusual (Gabriel so close to Rick, Carl so far away, etc.) This is the seating arrangement -------------- Glenn ------------- Maggie -------------- Abe Spencer ------------- Sasha Eugene -------------- Morgan Aaron ---------------- Rosita Enid ------------------ Tara Carl & Judith ------- (idk it's not even) Carol ---------------- Daryl Gabriel -------------- Michonne ------------ Rick ----------------- In the background of this scene is a checkered picnic cloth: Not unlike a chess or checkerboard. (which in some variants come in white/black, white/red, red/black, white/green, etc.) Figuring this, arranging the seating as a chessboard (with Rick as the King on the black/red side of the board -- meaning he's on "defense"/making the second move...) Rick: King (Black on white square) Michonne: Queen (Black on black square) Daryl: Bishop (Black on white square) Gabriel: Bishop (Black on black square) Carol: Knight (Black on white square) Tara: Knight (Black on black square) Carl: Rook (Black on black square) Rosita: Rook (Black on white square) With everyone else being pawns. [Of note: pawns are not useless or invaluable. Pawns are a key part of any chess game. As a general rule, a bishop or knight is worth the value of about two pawns. Pawns are also the only pieces that can become any other piece on the board. Once a pawn crosses into enemy territory, they can transform (usually into a Queen or Rook as those are the most valuable and powerful pieces in the game).] Even stranger? The line-up in the clearing in 6.16-7.01 was in the same order as the seating at the picnic table (but with Tara, Gabriel, and Carol missing). With interchanging pawns/non-pawns. Glenn (pawn) - Rosita (Rook) - Tara (Knight) - Daryl (Bishop) - Michonne (Queen) - Abe (pawn) - Maggie (pawn) - Rick (King) - Sasha (pawn) - Gabriel (Bishop) - Aaron (pawn) - Carol (Knight) - Carl (Rook) - Eugene (pawn) Only Michonne and Abraham were not where they were supposed to be. Abraham was in Michonne's space. I will get back to that in a minute. Now, one thing that's interesting about chess is that it's two groups comprised of the same number of players facing off in opposition -- only they're of different colors. What's interesting is that some fans have noticed that the Saviors eerily mirror members of Rick's group. Almost like their alternate universe counterparts. This is a loose example of how the Saviors can be seen as mirrors/foils to Rick's group (using some analysis): Negan - Rick (The Kings) Dwight - Daryl (Bishops) Simon - Michonne* (The Queens) Chelle - Maggie (Pawns) Paula - Carol (Knights) Molly - Abraham* (Pawns) Jiro - Glenn (Pawns) Sherry - Rosita (Rooks) Joey - Eugene (Pawns) Arat - Tara (Knights) Lucille - Carl (maybe? This one is arguable but interesting) (Rooks) Still unknown: On Rick's side: Sasha, Gabriel, Aaron, Morgan, Spencer, Enid (on Rick's side) On Negan's side: Gavin, Jared, Bud, Primo, Dr. Carson, Roman, Laura, Isabella (yet to be introduced), Donnie, Gordon Spoiler: Analysis of the Foils Negan : Rick While Rick and Negan don't share similar personalities, they're both leaders of strong communities -- both who will resort to downright cruelty to ensure the safety of their respective communities (although their motives are very different). Kirkman went down as saying Rick and Negan are two heads to the same coin. "When it comes to the Saviors, and Negan in particular, the way I’ve always thought about this in the comics is this is a group that’s led by a guy who’s had his morality dial a few clicks away from Rick toward the darker aspects of his personality, but is still an intellectual and capable leader who’s kept his group alive against all odds just as long as Rick has. It’s really the best encountering the best. When these two forces come head to head, things are gonna get interesting. This is a much different group than they’ve ever encountered. The Saviors are a group they’re not really prepared for.” So, in that respect, Negan is like the antithesis of Rick. His mirror image in almost every way. Dwight : Daryl This one seems obvious. Daryl and Dwight's story seem bound to be together. It's no surprise -- comic Dwight was created to be sort of an approximate to TV Daryl. Dwight ends up taking Daryl's crossbow and using it to kill Denise, which sends Daryl hunting for Dwight -- but this ends up backfiring, as Daryl became the hunted. Plus? Dwight now seems to be going out of his way to take on Daryl's attributes (vest, crossbow, even his bike). Simon : Michonne* Simon is Negan's "right hand man" -- or the most valuable player in Negan's game of chess. Negan assumed Abraham was Rick's "Simon" -- so he took him out at the start of the game. This is because Abraham is a man, like Simon, and was literally seated to the right of Rick in the line-up. However, this was a mistake. Michonne is Rick's most powerful ally and his true "right hand man" (or, in a game of chess, his "Queen"). Like Michonne, Simon appears to be the level-headed, friendly, cool-operator at the side of the "King". If they do the tower fight remix, I have no doubt it'll be Simon v. Michonne. And it's because they're filling the same role. Chelle : Maggie Chelle sports an appearance that is even downright similar to Maggie's. They're around the same age. What's interesting is that Chelle lost her father (Frank) and was planning on naming her child after her dead father -- but tragically she lost the child. In the comic, Maggie names her child after Hershel (her own dead father). Disconcertingly, Chelle tells Maggie about her dead boyfriend -- who was blown up when Daryl launched the rocket launcher. Guess who lost their husband? Maggie. Paula : Carol Paula's casting call read, "40s-50s, Cool, controlled, formidable. She’s faced tragedy and trauma and come out the other side stronger and harder. But she’s also become colder and less outwardly emotional — she avoids attachments and maintains a toughly pragmatic, nihilistic worldview…", which, in a way, mirrors Carol's emotional state at various points in the series (although this appears to be a smokescreen to veil a deep-seated hurt). Paula also lost a husband and four daughters. Similarly, Carol has lost her husband (Ed) and a daughter (Sophia) plus three surrogate child figures (Mika, Lizzie, and Sam [or perhaps Beth can be seen as approximation to this]). Molly : Abraham* Molly and Simon are the only two on Negan's side that have gender-swapped foils -- and I believe this is because Negan was meant to underestimate or mistake Michonne for a man (Abraham) as Rick's "right hand man". Molly is definitely the Abraham foil though, without a doubt. Here was her casting call: "50s-60s Like someone’s black sheep biker great aunt. An extrovert with badass Texan charm and a darkly humorous take on life. She knows she’s not long for this world, but doesn’t let that get her down. In spite of Mary’s age and general demeanor, she is not someone you want to mess with…" It's basically Abraham, but in biker mama form. Even weirder? Molly died by getting her head bashed by Maggie. Kind of like Abraham getting bludgeoned to death by Negan. Jiro : Glenn Barring the fact they're both Asian (which is a surface-level comparison), Jiro was a pawn who went out with his men and got killed in battle. Just like how Glenn is a guy who went out with his friends -- and inevitably got killed. He was also killed with a head injury like Glenn -- and tried to speak while he was dying. Admittedly, this is a shallow comparison since it's primarily based on race and not personality/role, so it's possible this doesn't apply. But it's possible. Sherry : Rosita Both women underestimate their inner strength and rely on their sexuality to gain what they perceive as security (Sherry offering to be Negan's wife to save Dwight; Rosita attracting Abraham (and the men before him) as a protector). Furthermore, the fact spoilers for 7.04 indicate Dwight shows some unsettling interest in Rosita is interesting -- given it's possible Rosita is Sherry's foil. Plus the Rosita-Daryl-Denise trio in "Twice As Far" appeared to be a mirror to Sherry-Dwight-Tina. Both involved the procuring of medicine and an unfortunate encounter with Daryl/Dwight (in both incarnations). Joey : Eugene Barring the fact they're both overweight men, Fat Joey appears to be a guy who is taken as an idiot because of his appearance and demeanor, but he might be more cunning than he appears. Likewise, Eugene is the same. He disarms people with his demeanor, but he contains more bravery and intelligence than people would think. In addition, it was Joey who sabotaged Daryl's escape attempt by acting incompetent, much like how Eugene foiled Dwight's kidnapped of Rosita and Daryl by playing possum and then biting him. Arat : Tara I mean, the names alone. I don't know what else to say. Lucille : Carl Both are the thing/person closest to the leader (Negan/Rick). Both get shot and lose a part of themselves. Both are a reminder of the leader's dead spouse. Both are the source of the leader's power. Both are unpredictable. What is interesting is that (if this all holds true) Molly-Abraham and Simon-Michonne are the only gender-swapped foils (sans the arguable connection between Lucille and Carl). Coupled with Abraham being seated in the line-up where Michonne should've been in the line-up -- and Negan being under the impression he took Rick's "right hand man" (aka his "Queen") -- this could be indicative of Negan making a miscalculation. Negan took out Abraham because he assumed (incorrectly) that he was the most powerful piece on Rick's side of the board. And it's a mistake that could prove costly. Anyway... I will surely come back to revisit this.