'Walking Dead' Showrunner Explains Why Rick Didn't Just Kill Negan

The Walking Dead season 8 hit the ground running in its premiere episode, as Rick Grimes' Alexandria/Hilltop/Kingdom coalition brought all out war to The Saviors' doorstep.

In one of the pivotal scenes of the episode, Rick and co. arrive at The Savior's front gate, where Rick made one final plea for The Saviors to abandon Negan's leadership, lest they all die. When Negan laughs at the notion, Rick gives him a final countdown - which he prematurely exchanges for gunfire.

However, some Walking Dead fans have fairly pointed out that Rick's ultimatum to the Saviors squandered an opportunity to shoot Negan down for good. However, showrunner Scott M. Gimple has an explanation for the strange choice in tactic, which he shared with THR:

"What shouldn't be glossed over is Rick is offering surrender to everyone else. He wants them to, more or less, be on his side after that. If he just shot Negan there, that would have been a shortcut to the war. He was making a play to not be in full violence with these people because you see what happens after that. The next step for everybody is pretty heavy and intense. If in fact Negan's other lieutenants had given up, it would have been over."

That answer is a clever way of side-stepping a potential major logic flaw in the show (it's definitely happened before), while also moving focus to the potentially thrilling events that are about to take place in upcoming episodes (see a preview in the video above).

Walking Dead Season 8 Premiere Rick Shoots at Negan

Still though, one wonders if things would've played out how Gimple said; from what we've learned about The Saviors, there may have been an mutiny within the ranks if the threat of Negan's wrath were suddenly removed. As it stands, we'll never know, but the multiple timelines the show is exploring may already be telling us the answer.

NEXT: Is Rick Going to Die in Season 8?

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The Walking Dead season 8 is currently airing Sundays @ 9/8c on AMC.