We’re gonna be honest with you, ok? You deserve that. We all deserve that after watching The Walking Dead for 8 years. After San Diego Comic Con, after The Walking Dead conference and panel, we’re pretty sure Rick Grimes is already dead, moved on, or MIA.
During the press conference Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, was more than ok with Lenny James (Morgan) movement from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead. “I think Lenny James is a perfect example of leaving without dying. And doing rather well on it. I just saw him about five minutes ago. He looks terrific.”
And ideally, he’d prefer that. “I prefer the Lenny James of it all.”
But it’s not gonna happen. Rick Grimes is dead. Let’s break down why.
First of all, he was hella proud of what they’ve done and he was speaking as if his journey was complete. “I think what we have in store this season is truly remarkable and I’ve very proud of the work that we’ve done.”
“I think what we have in store this season is truly remarkable and I’ve very proud of the work that we’ve done.”
Then he was thinking about the past, how he’s got here, and the people he’s met during the press conference and the panel. “At the end of the panel it sort of hit me, I got kind of choked up and it’s been 9 years of coming here and I love this place. I love seeing the fans and you’ve been such a vital part of this experience but like I said, my relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over.”
With Lincoln’s departure also comes the possibility of Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, to take the reins on The Walking Dead when Grimes passes or goes MIA. “When he’s not here I’ll compliment him. He’s a truly amazing, instinctive, brilliant actor. He’s kind of the…I came to America to work with actors like him. And he is like the Paul Newman that I will never be. He’s the Steve McQueen and the work that he’s doing this season, along with Danai and Jeffrey and the rest of the gang, it was a privilege.”
And then the nail. The big juicy nail in the coffin that makes me think, no matter what anyone else says, or until I see it on screen with my own two eyes, that Rick Grimes is D-E-A-D, he said this, “I got to do scenes with all of my favorite people this season. As a farewell, it was the greatest present I could’ve gotten, particularly working with Norman.”
“I got to do scenes with all of my favorite people this season. As a farewell, it was the greatest present I could’ve gotten, particularly working with Norman.”
The Walking Dead is still filming. So how is it that Lincoln got to do so many scenes with all his favorite people if he weren’t dead already and killed early on in the season? It’s true that for the last couple of seasons The Walking Dead has made each episode focused on a different community making it so some actors didn’t have to appear for a couple episodes. But things are different now. The community’s are coming together after the fall of Negan. So, chances are that if Lincoln filmed all his scenes, he’s not going to last till the end of the season.
Greg Nicotero teased, “For me personally it’s one of the most exciting times that has been on the show in a long time because we have this new threat that was really well introduced in the comic books and it was something really exciting. So knowing that we would get that little bit of a tease, I loved it. That’s where the show is headed. It’s just different and something we’ve never done before.”
A new direction would be for us to see Rick Grimes, the leader, the one whose been there from day one, biting the big one and dying just as we get to see Washington, D.C. and Rick riding around and bashing walkers with Negan’s Lucille. It’s a gamble, a monumental risk, and something that will define TV. Most shows don’t last long after they’ve killed off or written off the “lead.” (Looking at you The Vampire Diaries and House of Cards.)
The only way that this show is going to survive, and no I’m not talking about Norman Reedus’ Daryl taking the lead because he can’t do it alone, is to strengthen the bonds and relationships between the other characters. We already know that this story is BIGGER than Rick and everything he’s done along the way, well some of us know. Now the show has to prove it to those who are doubting or see no possible way for this show to survive into The Whisperers or whatever the hell that helicopter we’ve been teased with is actually doing.
Scott Gimple, ex-showrunner now that Angela Kang has stepped in, jumped on this train of thought by explaining, “It’s a slightly new timeline. It is new interpersonal kind of issues that lead them all into new conflicts. But seeing new character combinations, so deeply, sort of tied up with each other, that even though we’ve seen these characters for years and years, you just haven’t seen this. There’s so much new.”
Season 9 of The Walking Dead is an opportunity to explore and expand on the world that we’ve loved for over 8 years. It’s a test of the community that has formed around this show and the family that we’ve made along the way. And the only definite that I’m sure of right now is that Rick Grimes, that small town Sheriff who has gained and lost so much in the last 8 years is not going to die at the end of the season.
He’s going to die when you least expect it. Be that the first episode or the fifth, he won’t make it to the end.
Do you think Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is already dead? Will it be just as epically sad as Carl’s death? Let us know in the comments below!
The Walking Dead premieres October 7, 2018 on AMC.