One the hardest things about being a fan of The Walking Dead is undoubtedly the brutal and surprising deaths that occur each season. From characters who have only just begun establishing themselves, to others who have been around since the very beginning, the show doesn't hesitate to kill off whoever is most fitting — and that often ends in viewer heartbreak.
With Season 7 of #TheWalkingDead starting off with the devastating loss of both Glenn and Abraham, fans are nervous about which characters might be next as Season 8 adapts the All Out War arc from the comic series. But while the deaths of Season 8 remain a mystery for now, in a recent interview Andrew Lincoln has touched on the biggest fear of any Walking Dead fan: The death of Rick Grimes.
Having played Rick since the show debuted in 2010, it's understandable that Lincoln might have a hankering to do something new. As is, as Lincoln explained to Entertainment Weekly, a need to see a project to completion — something easily done in plays and films, but difficult on an ongoing TV series with no end date in sight:
"I was talking to James Badge Dale about acting, and we were just talking about completing stories. I think that there’s an innate feeling and certainly in me that I love doing a play or doing the film because you get to put a period on the end of it and you get to do it nightly, which is really exciting. TV is different. The format is different because it is about sort of a continuum. But, you know, there is a sense to me that really needs some… it sounds like I’m in a shrink's head, but there is a completion thing that I think I deserve for doing it for so long. And also probably the audience would like some completion."
While The Walking Dead coming to an end would undoubtedly be heartbreaking, there's no doubt that Lincoln is correct. The feeling of something coming to a satisfying and distinct ending is always going to please an audience — especially after they've invested so much time in it. However Lincoln doesn't necessarily mean the completion of the series, but the possibility of only Rick Grimes' arc coming to an end:
"There’s only so many ways you can bend and stretch this and that. I’m not saying that the show would ever finish, but I certainly think that there’s an opportunity for the show to change at some point, and I think it should."
Obviously it would take some incredible storylines to take The Walking Dead beyond the death of a character like Rick Grimes, but does Lincoln himself believe the show would be able to continue without his character? Of course he does:
"Absolutely. It’s beautifully set up for that — for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it’s our show. But whether or not that’s this season… well, you have to find out, don’t you?"
As comic fans will know, although The Walking Dead has focussed on Rick's leadership and decisions, the story is equally as much Carl's as it is his father's. With his childhood disrupted by the apocalypse, most of his family dead and a whole new way of life to be adapted to, Carl's journey is one just as fascinating as Rick's. And, if Rick was eventually written out of the series, it would be easy to see how his son could take up his father's mantle.
As for how Rick would ever be written out of the series, that's a difficult one to imagine. Perhaps the writers could just use the scenario that Andrew Lincoln already envisioned — I mean it is pretty Rick-esque. Check it out below:
But while we might not know when or how Rick Grimes will eventually leave the show, we do know that The Walking Dead is set to return to AMC with Season 8 on October 22. And no matter how dramatic the premiere gets — especially considering it's also the show's 100th episode — I have an inkling that Rick will at least survive to see Episode 2.
The Walking Dead will air Sundays on AMC from October 22, 2017.
Do you think The Walking Dead has a future after Rick Grimes is written out of the show? Let me know in the comments below.
Source: Entertainment Weekly