The Character Most Important For Rick's Survival On 'The Walking Dead'

Though many expect Rick to die in Andrew Lincoln's final season of The Walking Dead, there is one character who could be key to his survival: Jadis, now known as Anne.

As revealed in key art for The Walking Dead's Season Nine, the helicopter from Season Eight will be playing a part in the upcoming episodes. While the helicopter's community has yet to be revealed, it is connected to Pollyanna McIntosh's Anne in one way or another. The seeds for this connection were laid early on when a helipad was seen in the background of the trash heap Anne called home under the alias of Jadis. Then, in an episode where she had Negan as a prisoner, she attempted to signal the helicopter as it took off with a flare gun but missed their attention and, therefore, her ride.

As noted in a theory from Forbes, Anne's helicopter pals might not be as friendly as the survivors would hope. If Rick Grimes is out of Alexandria and encounters the group, he could be taken to their community as a hostage, especially given the value he would present being the leader of Alexandria -- knowledge they would have gained from Anne.

The Forbes piece seems to believe Negan can play a part in this, who would be encouraging the group to seek information from Anne as he is the only survivor aware of her connection to the helicopter. Such a story would be on par with the comic books, in which Negan becomes an influencer in Alexandria when the leadership becomes a bit unsteady and the former villain takes on a redemption arc.

Still, other characters might come into play, as well.

First of all, it's entirely possible Heath returns in Season Nine since going missing in Season Seven. While everyone is concerned about how much information the group will have to drop on him regarding Glenn, Abraham, the war with Negan, and so on, Heath has been out in the apocalypse on his own for months now. What if he were to have encountered Anne's group and their helicopter, only to return with intel or actual good news?

Georgie, who popped in for a single episode in Season Eight, might also be a factor in the helicopter narrative. The character appeared after the helicopter seemed to be arriving and it left when her business with Maggie was complete. The character bore a striking resemblance to the comic book character of Governor Pamela Milton, leader of the Commonwealth community, and she might have an enormous population of survivors capable of rescuing Rick from some sort of peril.

In any of these scenarios, The Walking Dead is given a purpose beyond fighting a new group with survival as the only goal. Each scenario provides the surviving characters a mission of finding Rick Grimes, which is a theme the AMC series could use as a means to keep it fresh nine years into a broadcast run.

Furthermore, Rick heading off to a new community, especially in a kidnapping scenario, provides a means for him to leave Alexandria without Michonne or Judith which organically fits the story. Most importantly, though, it leaves the door open for him to return which will be a day fans yearn for as Lincoln gets some much needed time off from production.

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Either way, it's a safe bet McIntosh's Anne character will be key in whatever helicopter story is coming The Walking Dead's way in Season Nine.

The Walking Dead will return for its ninth season in the fall. Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC, returning for the second half of its fourth season on August 12th. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.