'The Walking Dead' Creator Addresses Rick Death Rumors

Though Robert Kirkman has promised to kill The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes eventually, that day might not be as close as some fans are beginning to believe.

The writer and creator of The Walking Dead comics and TV series opened up about the rumors flurrying about Rick's impending demise in the aftermath of Carl's exit from the AMC show. "I don't expect that," Kirkman told THR. "That's not an intention, there. I've said from the very beginning that no one is safe. I do strongly feel like the show could survive without a Rick Grimes. There's certainly a lot of story to tell without that central character. I've talked a lot about how Rick Grimes will definitely die in the comic book series at some point before the series' conclusion, just because I want to make sure everyone knows that no one is safe. But I don't think you should read too much into that [scene]."

As Rick has a lot more story to tell himself, a huge portion of it will be driven by the loss of his son in Episode 8x09. "Carl's death really is a huge catalyst that sets the stage for the majority of the rest of season eight," Kirkman said. "It's not only going to affect Rick in some pretty obviously significant ways, but it will also have an effect on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It's going to play into this conflict in some interesting and unexpected ways. We wanted to have a huge emotional sendoff for Chandler and the character, and I'm very happy that we accomplished that. But Carl's legacy will live on in some very big and important ways for many episodes and possibly seasons to come."

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Ultimately, the goal at AMC is to keep The Walking Dead alive for as long as possible. Although the ratings sank to Season One levels with its most recent episode, Kirkman promises the network is still fully behind the zombie drama. "It's indicative of an overall effort by AMC to shore things up as we move into Season Nine and really make sure we're in the strongest footing possible for the future," Kirkman said. "As franchises start to get long in the tooth, you can lose your way a little bit. We want to desperately try to avoid that. We're poised for bigger and better things extremely late in our run. We're moving into year nine here, where most shows start to wrap up. I think the future is bright, and there's a lot of really great material coming up from the comic book, and not from the comic book, that will keep this universe viable for many, many years."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut its fourth season after The Walking Dead concludes its eighth, at 10 pm ET on April 15. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.