The Walking Dead is a series built on a mantra of "no one is safe." Recently, both the TV show and comic book have reinforced the phrase, with Season 7 of the AMC show taking out a slew of core characters and the Skybound/Image Comics series giving Andrea an emotional sendoff.
Despite what some fans may think, the series protagonist Rick Grimes is among the "no one" who is safe in the series. According to writer and creator of The Walking Dead, who has previously promised to kill Rick "eventually," there is life in The Walking Dead after Rick Grimes.
It was during his panel at San Diego Comic Con where Kirkman was asked by a fan whether or not the apocalyptic story will go on. “Yeah, I think so," Kirkman said. "I’ve said before, Rick does not survive to the end. It was years ago so you guys probably forgot but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise… Next issue."
The "next issue" bit earned a good laugh from the crowd and while Kirkman is likely joking about killing the protagonist in Issue #171 of The Walking Dead comic, readers know just how tough of a time Rick is having at the moment. His wife has died. His community was destroyed. His leadership is in question. The circumstances of Rick's life are becoming overwhelming for the one-handed leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
Kirkman does, however, have an ending in mind for The Walking Dead. "I haven't written it down or anything so, you know, I don't know why I would do that," Kirkman said. "It seems to practical and responsible but I remember it. So, I'm working towards that but it's a very long way off."
With the TV series heading into its eighth season and the comic approaching 200 total issues, there is no reason to believe The Walking Dead will call it quits any time soon. However, at some point, the series will exist and Rick Grimes won't be a part of it anymore, furthering the Old Man Carl theory's credibility. Perhaps The Walking Dead has been Carl's story all along.
During The Walking Dead's panel at PaleyFest, Andrew Lincoln had an idea for The Walking Dead's ending of his own.
"I'm gonna say this now, this is how I want Rick to die," Lincoln said. "Do you want to hear it? I was gonna say it, anyway."
That's when the idea began. "So, we're going through a desert somewhere and I jump off the bus," Lincoln said, pointing out that he shared this with Nicotero while the two were in Spain. "In a very heroic act, Rick jumps off, 'Cororororal.' He's still alive. Maybe it's the last thing I say."
"I jump off and I'm like kung-fu kicking, earn my action figure, half way through I get bit... Ow! Doesn't matter, keep going!" Lincoln went on. "Anyway, I deal with that, and I'm dying on my own. Just waiting to die. I wait and I patch up and a day passes."
Melissa McBride can't stop laughing, at this point.
"I patch myself up, I don't die," Lincoln said. "The final shot is, "Holy s---! Maybe I'm the cure!' High shot, the whole thing... High shot, herd of zombies coming: Rick gets up, follows the tracks to go see 'Coral,' walking, the herd comes towards him, and they separate. He walks through. Boom!"
The Walking Dead's writer and creator Robert Kirkman has previously promised that he will kill Rick Grimes "eventually" before the series comes to an end. While Lincoln's theory is one of pure fantasy, there are several credible series making their rounds on the Internet, which have been rounded up right here.
Lincoln's theory for how The Walking Dead should end is firmly unsupported by Kirkman, who revealed at San Diego Comic Con on Thursday that he recently came up with an ending of his own for the series.
"There was an ending I had in mind that I was thinking, 'Oh, this would be kind of a cool ending.' I got to a point where it should've happened and I was like, 'I'm not done yet.' And this was before the show. It got to a point where I would've had to start building to it and I was like, 'Nah.' So, I just threw that out and then I just kept going because I had all kinds of cool stuff I wanted to do."
The lightbulb for the new ending of The Walking Dead lit up above Kirkman's shoulders after years of working with the characters and world. "I think about two or three years ago, I had a pretty good idea for a definitive ending," Kirkman said. "I have known that since then and been working towards that, so I know exactly where I'm going and what's gonna happen when I get there."
He's not sharing it with anyone, at all.
"I haven't written it down or anything so, you know, I don't know why I would do that. It seems to practical and responsible but I remember it. So, I'm working towards that but it's a very long way off."
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