Throughout The Walking Dead‘s run, many characters have come and gone. Their exits would typically be brutal deaths that left fans and fellow characters reeling. But then there are the select few that have been able to survive walkers, cannibals, and more.
Rick Grimes is one of those survivors who seems invincible, given he is the main character. That, however, isn’t really the case. “I’ve said before, Rick does not survive to the end,” said the show’s creator, Robert Kirkman at Comic-Con. “It was years ago, so you guys probably forgot, but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise.”
So does this mean that we will finally see Rick die in Season 8 ? There is a theory that we might, and it’s partially fueled by “Old Man Rick,” who we glimpsed in the recently released trailer and will show up in the upcoming season. Curious on what is the strongest theory focused on Rick’s death? Here it is, along with six reasons why it’s possible and unlikely.
The theory: Rick dies and son Carl tells his story
Fans have unsurprisingly tried to figure out how the show would end. YouTube account, MovieIDOL believes the entire show is actually a retelling from an older Carl. So everything we have seen is more of a flashback. This frame for storytelling isn’t uncommon.
There are many shows that end with it all being retold from a certain character, as in How I Met Your Mother. This doesn’t exactly give a timeline on when this possible reveal could happen. It may be in a short flash-forward sometime before the show’s finale actually airs, so it could be in Season 8.
Why it’s likely: Carl looks up to Rick, so he’d make him the lead character
It wouldn’t be weird for Rick to be the main character of the show, even though he’s theoretically not the one telling this story. Carl is close to Rick and is there for a lot of his journey. He would make Rick the focus of his story in the future, especially since he was so young for a big portion of it.
Why it’s likely: It aligns with Kirkman’s promise and allows Rick to be alive as long as possible
Kirkman has reminded everyone that Rick won’t survive by the end of the show. But he doesn’t exactly give a timeline of when the inevitable will happen.
This theory could allow Rick to be a part of the show as long as possible ,with a big reveal of dying Old Man Rick and older Carl at any point later in the series.
Why it’s likely: Old Man Rick could be a flash-forward
A trailer debuted at Comic Con showing Rick fully gray, with a cane at his bedside and lying awake in bed. There have been a lot of questions of what this could mean. Will it all be a dream? Are we jumping forward in time? We won’t get answers until the first episode of the new season, but it suggest this theory isn’t impossible.
Perhaps Rick is on his death bed, and Carl is able to give him a tearful goodbye. Maybe Carl is even telling his kids about everything the two have been through together.
Why it’s likely: Rick’s death is most likely coming soon
Rick’s death would undoubtedly be a huge moment for the show and it might be coming soon. Kirkman bringing up that Rick will die before the end of the show, and that the story will continue without him, is a big sign of what’s to come. Lately, Rick has been losing his power and faith in himself, so he’s very vulnerable.
Also, Carl is definitely coming into his own. It’s possible that the plan all along was to have the story be passed off to Carl, and Season 8 could be that transition.
Why it’s unlikely: Carl’s and Rick’s perspectives aren’t the only ones shown
Writer Adam Miller points out the theory would work, but the biggest hole in it is that the show features perspectives from many different figures. Some episodes focus on characters besides Rick and Carl, so how would the latter know about those conversations in order to retell them?
Perhaps this theory could be tweaked, so that it’s a group of people (and not just Carl) telling stories about Rick, including Carol, Morgan, Daryl, and Maggie. This would explain the large scope of the retelling of this story.
Why it’s unlikely: An early reveal would throw off the show’s formula
The show has been primarily linear from the beginning, so it would definitely be a switch if we started getting flashbacks and flash-forward to make this theory work.
It would also change the way that the audience watches the show if they know that Rick becomes an old man, and therefore survives everything that comes his way. So it isn’t a sure thing that this theory will actually happen.
Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.
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