Exactly a week before the highly anticipated return of The Walking Dead for a seventh season and the revelation of what core character was killed off by villain Negan, AMC tonight renewed the zombie apocalypse blockbuster for an eighth season. The news of the much-expected return of the series, based on the Robert Kirkman-created comics, came at the star of  a special two-hour TWD retrospect that the cabler was airing on Sunday.

Starting with the series’ 100th episode, the 16-episode eighth season will debut in late 2017 – with a more-than-likely October premiere date. At the same time Sunday, AMC also announced that TWD aftershow The Talking Dead, hosted by Chris Hardwick, will be returning for a new season as well.

““Eeny, meeny, miny, more,” said AMC boss Charlie Collier today in a statement in an homage to the threat given by Jeffrey Dean Morgan-portrayed Negan in the Season 6 finale earlier this year. “What a joy to partner with Robert Kirkman, Scott Gimple and some of the hardest-working people in television to bring The Walking Dead to the fans. And, most important, thanks to those fans for breathing life into this remarkable series right along with us.”

As for next week’s Season 7 premiere, the mystery of just who Negan killed off has bedeviled fans of the show since the surprisingly controversial cliffhanger ending to season 6. The show has played coy since then, playing up the uncertainty largely because the identity of the victim who was killed off in the same scene in Kirkman’s comics is well-known (though we won’t spoil it here.) Does this coyness indicate someone other than that character might die? Possibly, but we can, at least, rule out main character Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), confirmed as a survivor in a trailer released last week during New York Comic-Con.

The Walking Dead Season 7 debuts with “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” episode on October 23. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple wrote the season opener.