Fans packed Hall H today at San Diego Comic-Con for an impressive slate of panels, and The Walking Dead was one of the most anticipated. After the members of the panel took to the stage, they wasted no time before giving attendees a first look at the series' eighth season. The trailer was released online moments later — and although there is so much to discuss, one scene stood out in particular: old man Rick at the very end.
The camera focuses on a cane and a table full of flowers on a bedside table; we see a man in the bed, who turns out to be a gray-haired Rick, visibly aged. The overhead view closely resembles the scene in The Walking Dead pilot of Rick waking up at the hospital.
Could this be a look into the future or simply a dream sequence considering the blurry footage? Fans took to Twitter to share their thoughts:
The show could be taking a nod from the comics, which featured a major time jump after the "All Out War" storyline. This seems like the most probable option. Andrew Lincoln looks identical to the current Rick in the comics, down to the beard length and cane.
It is important to note that The Walking Dead has a history of using dream sequences and hallucinations, so take it all with a grain of salt. (There is also the least likely option: that Rick is still in a coma at the hospital, and all of this show took place in his head.)
The best guess would be a time jump towards the end of Season 8 with Rick's survival possibly hanging in the balance. Creator Robert Kirkman has even mentioned during his own #SDCC2017 panel that The Walking Dead will go on without Rick — but could that happen sooner than we expected in the series?
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres Sunday, October 22nd on AMC.