Walking Dead fans already know how this storyline played out in the comics, as "All Out War" left Negan defeated but not dead, locked up in a secret holding cell in Alexandria before eventually partnering with Rick Grimes and his survivor group.
As Lincoln tells it, no one is safe in The Walking Dead season 8, not even Rick - nor should he be. As the actor explained, living forever (even as the series protagonist) is not an exciting prospect:
“There comes a point where there are too many gray hairs on your chin. I think the audience deserves an end game. It’s a lot of time to invest in a story without some kind of resolution."
Lincoln went a step further, actually stating that he'd be willing to see Rick Grimes killed off, if it meant impacting the audience with a drastic and decisive development:
“If I was watching it I would want some answers, something, and if that means the demise of a central character or a principal character, then I’m willing to take the medicine.”
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman just recently reiterated that although he has an eventual ending in mind, both the comic book series and/or the life of Rick Grimes are not things fans should expect to end anytime soon.
However, The Walking Dead TV series has grown to be a very different beast than its source material, and it's never inconceivable that a major character like Rick could die. After all, the rules for a character on the page, and an actor playing a character in a TV show are very different. On the page, a character can live on as long as the story itself can; in the medium of TV, however, most actors feel done with a role after so many seasons of playing the same person. Eight seasons is a long time, and Lincoln sounds like boredom with Rick's arc could be setting in.
At this point, The Walking Dead has distilled its cast down to an ensemble of fan-favorite characters (and Carl), so it's just as conceivable for the show to go on without Rick Grimes, so long as characters like Carol, Daryl, or maybe even Negan are still there.
What do you think: would you watch The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes? Let us know @ComicBookNow!
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres on Sunday, October 22nd, on AMC.