Earlier this year, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman gave an abrupt end to not only the comic series which launched a global phenomenon but also its main character in Rick Grimes. In the series' penultimate issue, Rick found himself comfortably in his bed where an annoyance of a character by the name of Sebastian would burst in with a silenced pistol and shoot him -- multiple times. Rick was left for dead in his own bed, reanimated, and was put down by his son Carl. Some fans enjoyed the ending, others found themselves frustrated by it. At the premiere of The Walking Dead, Kirkman explained his reasoning behind the shocking conclusion to Rick's story.
"Rick Grimes fixed the world to the point where he was so safe that he could be killed by the weakest character in the book," Kirkman explained. "It's a statement on how good of a job he did." The explanation is a bit ironic in itself, but looking into it further, it seems as though Kirkman is implying that a character like Sebastian would have never had an opportunity to kill someone like Rick in the past of this apocalypse. Rick built the world to a point where people were able to lay comfortably in a bed without keeping their guard up.
"At no point in the history of the comic could he have been killed that way," Kirkman added. "It wasn't until the very end that he was able to relax to the point where..." Though we will likely never see them, Kirkman does have ideas in his head for what happened with characters like Sebastian, Carl, Negan, and others who survived beyond Rick's last issue. "I definitely have little tidbits of, 'Oh, that happened to this person, that happened to this person,' and you see some glimpses of that in the last issue. But there's obviously a lot more going on."
While Rick's death and the abrupt ending for The Walking Dead caught many by surprise, executive producer of the TV series and CEO of Skybound Entertainment David Alpert was among very few to know about the conclusion. Rick's death, however, was a surprise to him. "Sometimes he likes to tell me early," Alpert said. "So, the end of the book, I'll know a long time ahead. Rick's death is sort of like, I'll sort of hear it as the art is being drawn. And people are like 'I don't know if we're supposed to tell him this.' And then some, I'll hear them talking. I'm like, 'Tell me what?' And they're like 'Nothing, nothing!' And they all sort of go over and, anyway, this is how I found out."
As for whether or not such a moment will make its way to The Walking Dead, the upcoming Rick Grimes movie, or any other title set in the expanding universe -- no one is ruling it out. "It's always possible that we could give that storyline to a different character, or that could somehow live in the Rick Grimes movie series," Kirkman said. "Certainly can't say anything further than that."
The Walking Dead returns for its tenth season on October 6 on AMC.