The Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead was loaded with references to its own milestones and previous episodes but one Easter egg came in the form of a possible nod to LOST.
For the first time, The Walking Dead used a storytelling device which was popular in LOST's fourth season: flashforwards. Rick Grimes awoke in his bed, surrounded by a flourishing community and his walking, talking daughter Judith. Beside Rick's bed, however, was the potential reference to LOST: a clock reading "8:23".
On LOST, the number 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 always had a way of popping into the storylines. It was Flight 815. 48 people survived. Jack sat in row 23. The list goes on... With The Walking Dead borrowing the flashforward format, it seems like too big of a moment to call it a coincidence, especially with how big of a LOST fan The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple is.
The Walking Dead's executive producer and director of the Season 8 premiere Greg Nicotero, however, says that the potential reference was unintentional on his account.
"You know, what's funny is that was completely unintentional," Nicotero said. "I know Scott's a big LOST fan, but I shot that shot, because of course, I shot the episode. And I hate to admit it, I've never seen LOST."
Still, it is moments like these which makes Nicotero appreciate fans of The Walking Dead like no other.
"That's exactly what I love," Nicotero said. "Maybe I shouldn't have answered that, and said, 'Yeah, it could be a reference to LOST.' I don't think there was any reference that I'm aware of at the time, unless Scott gave somebody a note and said, 'Make sure it says 8:23 on the clock.' It could've been something that he put in there so that when I shot it, the props people made sure that it was set at 8:23."
According to Scott Gimple, the direction for the clock to say "8:23" was in the script.
This would not be the first time The Walking Dead made reference to the popular ABC show which aired from 2004 through 2010. Season 4's Consumed episode featured a Virgin Mary statue, the same one which was loaded onto Eko's brother Yemi's plane, planted on the dashboard of the van Daryl and Carol found in Atlanta.