Potential spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8 follow.
On Friday, AMC unveiled the first trailer for the eighth season of The Walking Dead. While the first footage from the upcoming batch of episodes was, in fact, loaded with insight, there was one moment which has fan minds melting.
After The Walking Dead logo played, a post-credits scene of sorts came into focus. It saw flowers on a night stand next to a bed where Rick Grimes was laying in a white top, eventually waking up with his head centered in the frame, looking directly into the frame. His hair was shorter than it is now but longer than it was at the start of the show, he had grown a beard, and it all turned grey.
Immediately, fans began to speculate that Rick was waking up from his coma and the entire Walking Dead series was a dream. Robert Kirkman has firmly ruled out such a scenario over the past few years, making this an impossible scenario in The Walking Dead Season 8 or any beyond it.
Instead, this moment is a flashforward. This is the first look at Rick Grimes following a time jump which will follow the upcoming All Out War story line which sees him doing battle with Negan and the Saviors, fighting for freedom, morality, and the safety of the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
Here's how we know...
In The Walking Dead comics, the All Out War storyline is followed by a massive time jump. The amount of time is never specified but it is estimated to be no shorter than two years and no longer than five years.
In the time which passed, Rick Grimes took on a new look. His hair had been shortened and his beard grew full. Unlike any time before it, Rick managed to maintain the look and keep it clean as Alexandria had finally began to show true signs of becoming a civilization.
If the appearance of Rick is not enough to confirm the moment at a flashforward sequence, one extra detail will be.
During Rick and Negan's final showdown in the comics, Rick wins the brawl but not without taking some serious damage. Negan breaks his leg. Without a hospital near by or proper way to recover from the injury, the damage to Rick's leg heals but never to one hundred percent. Instead, Rick walks with a cane for the rest of the comic.
The first shot of the sequence tagged onto the end of The Walking Dead's Season 8 trailer sees a cane resting near Rick's bed.
In an interview with ComicBook.com, The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln ws asked if his character would feel comfortable having another child with his girlfriend Michonne should circumstances permit. Shippers felt the ground shake when Lincoln ultimately dubbed repopulating the world as one of Rick's major goals but what concluded his statement is most interesting.
"Also, maybe in a couple of episodes time, there may be a jump ahead in the curve and maybe setting themselves to that job at hand," Lincoln said.
Time jumps are nothing new on The Walking Dead. The series has used them to continue telling stories going from one season to another (probably in part due to Chandler Riggs' rapid growth) or from one episode to another (Season 6 Episodes 9 and 10 saw a considerable gap after the zombie herd in Alexandria was conquered). However, at this juncture, another time jump would probably be the largest the show has seen.
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Fear the Walking Dead returns September 10. The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October with a trailer coming in July at San Diego Comic Con. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.