The Walking Dead is headed into the final episodes of Season 10. Later this fall, the show will begin a twenty-four episode run that will be the final chapter on an eleven season spectacular series. There has been nothing like it in the history of cable television and it made loving zombies mainstream. From the average Joe to doctors and lawyers, walking like a zombie was cool. The show became a worldwide phenomenon. As we head into the final chapter of the show, the biggest question is: How will The Walking Dead end?
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
Unlike most scripted television, The Walking Dead has a true source material in the comic book series. The comics ended after an equally spectacular run and it laid the foundation for how the show can also reach an endpoint. Here’s what the comics have in and ending that the show cannot achieve. Rick Grimes dies in the comics and we are left, for a very short period, with the focus turning to Carl Grimes. That said, Carl became a very central figure in the final stories of the comics. We also still have Sophia in the comics. We don’t have Daryl Dixon, who never showed up in the comics due to licensing, and Carol died very early on in the comic books. Michonne remained a central character in the comics but was never Rick’s love interest (as Andrea had that story line in the comics). Finally, Negan departs the comics before the end, which eventually led to a single episode comic titled, “Negan Lives!”
As we approach the final season, this leaves the source material of the comics as a place to draw more inspiration and loosely based stories than it does a source for hard-line mirroring to achieve the same ending.
So here’s what we do know that the television show can’t achieve in an ending.
Don’t expect the return of Rick Grimes. Although the show should end and begin with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), it’s highly unlikely that Rick returns to the television show. We also know that it’s been confirmed that there is a series of movies in place for Rick. This means that Rick will not suffer the same fate he did in the comics. Rick dies at the end of the comic books. Rick won’t be returning to the show just to die. Many fans have long speculated that Daryl will take over Rick’s story line since Rick’s departure. Yet is this really likely?
AMC has announced that Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) will have his own spinoff along with Carol as its co-star. This means we know that Daryl will make it past the final season of The Walking Dead. Now this doesn’t mean that Daryl won’t continue to take Rick’s story, but what this does mean is that Daryl won’t take Ricks death in the series. It is more likely that Daryl, in true Daryl fashion, will ride off into the sunset with Carol (still not as a love interest) when he sees that his friends have finally achieved a true ending and happiness in finding a permanent, safe residence.
Carol (Melissa McBride) has far outlived her comic book counterpart. We also know she will now survive the entire series and will co-star with Daryl in an upcoming spinoff. Carol’s stories have been written just for her. There have been moments where she’s taken other character’s moments, but overall, Carol has had her own direction on the show. It’s difficult to predict what the end of The Walking Dead will look like for her.
It is highly likely that Judith Grimes becomes the central focus of the final season of The Walking Dead. The show and the series is about the Grimes family and, as the sole remaining member of the Grimes family (does RJ really count?), Judith most likely will take Carl’s story from the comics. It is highly likely that instead of the show ending with a grown up Carl and Sophia, with a child, in a world that is now safe and healing, the show will end with Judith and, possibly, Hershel Rhee grown up, with a child, in a world that is now safe. The story has to begin and end with a Grimes family member – especially since it’s highly unlikely that Rick returns.
Although Michonne (Danai Gurira) is no longer on the show, it’s important to point out that she is part of the end of the comics. It’s been teased that Michonne will return of the Rick Grimes movies, as she is currently on her search for Rick somewhere in The Walking Dead universe. Therefore, for similar reasons to Rick, we won’t see her comic book ending play out on the show.
Maggie (Lauren Cohan) is potentially the most interesting character remaining for the final season of The Walking Dead. Why? Because she’s a wildcard. Her character has nothing to major draw from at this stage of the comics, so she could really become anything at this point. She could be a leader, a villain, take Rick’s story, Carl’s story. They really could do anything with her – especially since there isn’t much buzz about any future shows with Maggie.
If The Walking Dead has one character and actor with major star power, it’s Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Negan is a dynamic character and Morgan is a true Hollywood star with major credits and recent feature film success. As well, since there is source material after the end of the comics, Negan makes it as the most likely character to also get his own show or even a feature film. Negan won’t face death on the show, as AMC already loves to milk The Walking Dead for everything it can – Negan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are dollar signs for AMC.
Where does this leave the final season of The Walking Dead? Well, if the first 10 seasons are anything to look at for inspiration, there will be a lot of drama and a lot of character conclusions that result in death. Characters like King Ezekiel, Aaron, Father Gabriel, and other secondary characters may be in a lot of trouble, especially if this new CRM group that lives in The Commonwealth are anything like we’ve witness in The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
Expect big moments and The Walking Dead to repeat many of the same tropes that fans have come to love over the course of the series.
The Walking Dead will return for six episodes starting February 28 and then being its final season in the Fall of 2021.
What do you expect in the final season of The Walking Dead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.