Tonight marks the beginning of the end for Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead. How will writers send this iconic character on his way? Let’s take a look at a few theories!
In May, it was whispered that Andy Lincoln would be hanging up his Colt Python and walking away from the series that he steered for eight seasons. Lincoln confirmed this in July at SDCC.
That’s when speculation began about how the writers would kill off Rick Grimes.
For such an iconic character, his death has to mean something, and it has to be handle carefully and deliberately. I feel like The Walking Dead made huge missteps in Carl’s death in season eight, so I hope they don’t do that with Rick’s death. They’ve made big progress in not making Rick’s death a midseason finale ratings stunt, so kudos there.
There are three theories that I’m mulling over in my head right now. Two of the three show a self-sacrificing Rick Grimes. After all, this is the man who said, “I try to do everything right, keep people safe.” way back at the beginning of season two.
Negan finally gets the upper hand on Rick.
I understand that this theory is least likely to happen as the writers want the viewers to still like Negan a little bit. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is charismatic as hell, and if they can hang on to him after Rick’s death, they’ll do it.
I’d love for it to be Rick’s downfall, though. He’s gone back-and-forth this season over his decision to keep Negan alive, and his relationships with longtime friends, Maggie and Daryl, have suffered from it.
To see Rick actually face incredibly bad consequences for his decision to spare Negan would be fitting, and would go along with Maggie’s quote early in the season:
“Not all people can be redeemed.”
It would also show Rick’s naivety to be deadly, and if everyone else can suffer from being naive, so can Rick Grimes.
The Sanctuary is attacked, and Rick leads the walkers away.
This theory seems a bit more likely. In this upcoming episode, Carol tells Rick that she’s taking her people and going back to The Kingdom. The Saviors don’t want them there anymore.
“It’s up to them to figure out who they want to be.”
This would mean that a representative for the core group wouldn’t be keeping an eye on the Saviors, and no I still don’t count Eugene and neither do the remaining Saviors.
We’ve seen lots of mentions of walker herds this season, and Rick working with all communities to prevent casualties while showing the Saviors that he wants them to build a life together.
If he showed up at the Sanctuary after hearing that a herd was heading that way and led walkers away only to be cornered while the Saviors ran out. He’d sacrifice himself, it could bring the Saviors and the core group together over his loss and his deep-seated belief that all life counted.
Daryl or Maggie would have to be witness to it, though. Otherwise, they’d suspect foul play.
Rick leads walkers away from the other survivors to the bridge.
Right now, I’m leaning heavily this way because the bridge and its construction have been a huge focal point in the season so far. The second episode even had Rick passing a sign that read “Future” to go and look out over the construction of the bridge.
With the Saviors having left for the Sanctuary and quit working, Carol heading back to the Kingdom, and very few ASZ and Hilltop survivors helping, the work on the bridge isn’t yet complete.
This could resolve in tonight’s episode, so yes, I’m working under the assumption that it doesn’t get finished.
In that case, walkers could attack the survivors, and in an attempt to save everyone, Rick could lead them a bridge that he knows won’t hold there weight (that was teased last episode) and he would fall into the river with the walkers.
This wouldn’t show us Rick dead because that may be very traumatic for long-time fans. We never saw Carl dead either. We experienced his death through the emotions of those he was closest to. However, it would give enough of a visual that Rick Grimes died protecting the people he loved.
Again, Rick dying in a move that protects everyone, may be enough to bring the communities together.
I feel like in any of these scenarios, Maggie will feel some guilt in the actions of Rick, pushing her to go and live with Georgie. Lauren Cohen is rumored to be in only six episodes this season, and no confirmed death, so this would make sense.
The only thing I would outright flip tables over is if the helicopter people kill him. Don’t introduce a new antagonist we know nothing about to kill off the main protagonist of the series. That would just be awful.
What do you think will happen to Rick? How will he go out? Share your theories with us!