Here Are 10 Ways ‘The Walking Dead’ Could End
The Walking Dead has been a TV staple for nearly a decade. And at the moment, it’s showing few signs of wrapping up. But fans have always been eager to figure out the popular AMC series’ end game. That’s led to countless fan theories and ideas.
Here are 10 ideas for how The Walking Dead could end, ranked from least to most likely.
10. With a big reveal about how the apocalypse happened
Since the very first episode of The Walking Dead, fans have wondered why. Why did the human population suddenly start to zombify? Why didn’t anyone do anything to stop it? The Walking Dead’s comics creator, Robert Kirkman knows the answers to these questions. But he says he’ll never tell.
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9. With a cure for the undead plague
So, TWD probably won’t end with a neat and tidy “and that’s why everyone can’t stay dead.” Can fans at least hope for the last episode to feature an antidote to the undead-ifying of all humanity?
Probably not. Since Kirkman has shut down fans’ hopes for learning the origins of the plague, it’s just as unlikely that The Walking Dead will offer a cure.
After all, how frustrating would it be for us to spend years watching Rick, Daryl, Carol and the rest of them fight for survival, only to have a man in a lab coat show up with an easy fix?
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8. With a horrifying revelation that it’s all been a dream
For years, fans have toyed with the idea that everything that’s happened in The Walking Dead has been a dream. That theory arose because the series started with Rick waking up in a coma.
The idea that maybe he didn’t wake up, and TWD will end with him coming into consciousness and realizing all the zombie stuff was a figment of his imagination, is pretty horrifying. But The Walking Dead wouldn’t be the first series to disappoint fans with its ending.
But just because it could end with a “none of this was real” revelation doesn’t mean it will. Kirkman tweeted way back in 2014 that everything we’re seeing on TWD is actually happening to the characters.
So unless he’s changed his mind, we will hopefully be spared a Dallas-sized disappointment when The Walking Dead ends.
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7. With a Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead meet up
We already know that Morgan will be leaving TWD for a stint on its spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead. But that may not be the only time we see the two series merge.
It would be surprisingly easy for The Walking Dead to merge its storylines with Fear the Walking Dead when it reaches the end of its tenure on AMC. Maybe Rick and his camp abandon Alexandria and wind up crossing paths with Madison.
Or maybe in the final episode, they’ll hear a knock at the gates and find Madison and her crew there, looking for sanctuary. It’s hard to say whether fans would like or be frustrated by a crossover. But it would definitely be a way for the series to remind fans how truly huge The Walking Dead universe is.
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6. With Rick returning home
In its 100th episode, The Walking Dead reminded us where it started with a clever parallel to the very first scene from its Season 1. And on more than one occasion, it’s called back to moments or characters from earlier seasons.
The Walking Dead could play on this nostalgia when it ends by bringing Rick back to where it all began. Maybe he, Michonne, and Judith will leave Alexandria and its horrible memories behind and start a new life back in his hometown.
Or maybe he’d simply stop by out of curiosity on their way to a new, hopefully less terrifying adventure. Either way, it would give fans a nice bookend to the series, and serve as a reminder of how far he’s come.
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5. With everyone dying
One of the most consistent themes in The Walking Dead has been the fight for survival. Though we’ve watched dozens of characters die, the series has tried to give us the feeling that their deaths won’t be in vain.
But another prevailing trend on TWD has been its tendency toward shock value. And that could end up taking precedence over anything else in the finale. Though it would be depressing, and incredibly controversial, it wouldn’t be impossible for The Walking Dead to end with all of its main characters dead. Or, they could pull this off in a way that stays true to the series message of survival.
The Walking Dead could end decades in the future, long after Rick and Michonne have shuffled off the mortal coil. But it could show that civilization is thriving, in large part thanks to all the sacrifices that they made along the way.
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4. With a heartbreaking (and hopeful) look back
We can theorize, in general, about what the state of things will be when The Walking Dead ends. But one fan, in particular, has already imagined what the series final moments could look like. And honestly? It’s pretty great.
In December 2017, Reddit user Battlehead mused about how powerful it might be for the series to offer us an aerial view of what the world looks like in The Walking Dead universe. We’d see signs of civilization continuing to grow, including in areas that are familiar to fans, like Woodbury.
And we could even linger over the places where we’ve lost some of the most iconic characters, like Shane, Lori, and Glenn. It would be a sad, but poignant reminder of all the losses fans have endured — but also a way to reflect back on the series as a whole.
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3. With a frustrating lack of conclusion
Series like Twin Peaks, Mad Men, and The Sopranos have ended things with a question mark, rather than a period. And these finales, while sometimes controversial, have certainly inspired intense debate within the TV-watching community.
If The Walking Dead writers want to push their fans (and, come on, we know they do), then they could choose to end on a more ambiguous note. In other words, they could leave the characters in limbo, with fans knowing they’re safe for the moment, but likely to face more danger soon. Or they could be really mean, and leave us on a true cliffhanger — with Rick and his friends poised to head into another battle. Of course, that would be pretty cruel.
But it would also be in line with the series’ unyielding misery over the last few seasons. Luckily, The Walking Dead has given us some clues that we could get a more satisfying resolution.
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2. With Old Man Rick
In the Season 8 premiere, we seemingly saw a glimpse of the future. Old Man Rick awoke in his bed, and joined his family, including Carl, for breakfast. Their home was still Alexandria, but it seemed to be built out more, with something that looked like a town square. Fans thought we were seeing The Walking Dead’s end game at the time, and it felt like a little bit of a relief.
According to Chandler Riggs, who played Carl, those moments weren’t glimpses into the future. They were meant to represent the vision that his character had for what the future could be. But that doesn’t mean we won’t see Old Man Rick again. If The Walking Dead ends years in the future, as Rick looks over the life that he’s built, it would be emotionally satisfying for many fans.
It would give us some hope that their lives settle down. And by ending, as it started, by viewing the world mostly through Rick’s eyes, it would feel like the series had truly come full circle.
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1. With Rick finally getting a break
We’ve watched Rick Grimes amass friends and foes alike for years now. But at some point, we have to wonder, will they find another, larger group of survivors willing to take them in?
Sure, things in Alexandria are sort of going okay. But it’s nice to think that perhaps they’d one day find a truly thriving society, free of the threat of random sociopaths taking control. There have been glimmers of hope that The Walking Dead might offer this resolution. In Season 8, Rick saw a helicopter flying over head, which seems to hint that there are larger, more powerful forces at work.
The question, of course, is where and when they might cross paths. The Walking Dead team may save this reveal until the end, and finally give Rick the chance breathe and let someone else take the lead.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.
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