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The Walking Dead: Rick’s Return May Not Be How You Think

Published on February 9th, 2021 | Updated on February 11th, 2021 | By FanFest

In Season 9 of The Walking Dead, fans said a ‘temporary’ goodbye to their leading man, Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln.  Content guru, Scott Gimple, made it clear that we aren’t done with Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and that we will be seeing a Rick Grimes trilogy on the big screen.  However, Rick’s return may not be what you hope.

Originally, the first of the Rick Grimes films was anticipated to arrive in theaters in 2020 but there rumors that it is significantly delayed due to disagreements on the tone of the film and the script, along with the pandemic slowing production.

As well, Andrew Lincoln was originally set to return to the set of The Walking Dead to direct an episode for Season 10 and those plans were scrapped.  So, at the moment, Lincoln’s involvement with the show and film are unknown.

Additionally, there has to be some concern as to how well a Walking Dead film will perform in theaters.  There appears to be some Walking Dead fatigue as the show moves into it’s tenth season and we are on the cusp of seeing a third Walking Dead show, The Walking Dead: World Beyond.  Viewership numbers for The Walking Dead are at an all-time low.  However, fan reviews of Season 10 as a whole and each episode is at an all-time high under showrunner, Angela Kang.

Knowing that Rick Grimes is alive in the world of The Walking Dead has caused a lot of fuss from fans.  Fan love Rick Grimes because of what he was willing to do to protect his family but can’t comprehend why seven years later he has not come back for his family.  This will have to be explained immediately in the films and it has to be believable.

Let’s explore some of the popular theories that are floating around.

Theory One – Rick Grimes Has Lost His Memory

Rick was injured in the explosion and doesn’t remember a thing about his past.  This would be the most logical theory to explain why Rick hasn’t come for Michonne and Judith.  For this conversation, we know R.J. exists but he’s become such an afterthought on the show that no one is even telling him to go back in the house (Carl throwback).  However, this is also such a cliche event in storytelling that, even though it works, it wouldn’t be that exciting of a plot point.

Theory Two – Rick Grimes Is Severely Injured

Rick may have suffered such a severe injury that he physically can’t leave the community where he’s now living.  Let’s be honest.  This theory is terrible and makes for a lousy three movies.  If Rick Grimes is injured and can’t travel, then he’s probably not going to be doing much in the three scheduled films.

Theory Three – Rick Grimes Can’t Go Far

Whatever has happened to Rick from the bridge explosion or the events in transporting him to wherever he is, he’s now tethered to this location and can’t go very far.  Rick, with full memory, would pursue Michonne and Judith and return home.  However, if something were keeping him tied to his new location, he’d have to stay there or close by.  It’s possible that Rick’s injuries require medical treatment that he has to have daily or weekly.

We know the three communities are more technological advanced, so he may have access to medical equipment that he would not in Alexandria.  For example, if Rick now required dialysis for kidneys or something of that nature, he may only be able to keep on living if he stays where he is.  Rick is now staying alive with the long-term goal that he gets word to Michonne and Judith somehow of where he is and that he’s alive.

Theory Four – It Was All A Dream, But It’s Starting Over

What if the television show, The Walking Dead, was all a dream and when the time jumped we were seeing it from someone else’s perspective.  But now, Rick Grimes wakes up to learn his family is alive and well.  However, with years of ‘dreaming experience’, as the real zombie apocalypse now starts, Rick gets a do-over!

Theory Five – Rick’s A Walker

Three, full, shambling movies of watching a walker Rick Grimes walk through the wilderness.  It’s like a Nat-Geo documentary but from a walker’s perspective.

What theory do you agree with? What is your theory on where Rick is and why he hasn’t come back for his family?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The Walking Dead returns on February 28, 2021 with six new episodes for Season 10 on AMC.


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65 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Rick’s Return May Not Be How You Think

  1. Theory 3, Rick would move heaven and earth and anything that got in his way to get back to his family..

  2. I believe Rick holds the cure for the walking dead. Some how being in a coma during the start of the apocalypse it skipped over him. There has been plenty of times where Rick should’ve turned but didnt. Another thing we haven’t seen is a child born after the apocalypse turn into the walking dead.

  3. You missed one big one..that is…Rick knowing how many walkers that were coming may have been told his friends and family did not survive the horde leaving him to believe he is the soul survivor of the survivors and is unaware they have been looking for him.

  4. Maybe Rick has been in a coma and don’t know where he is. He is trying to figure it over The past few years after waking from a coma with temporary memory loss.

  5. I think he probably lost his memory and the lady and whoever that was flyin the helicopter hasn’t explained to him what happened. I would love to see Rick grimmes come back.can’t wait that’s sad about Michonne though

  6. He’s gone with the helicopter people. The community we see in fear the walking dead. Same ones woman from the junk yard was calling on the radio

  7. I say number 4 because not only does it open to new possibilities of what direction to go in but it lays a better foundation for the movie and explanation for the tv show because if Rick never returns to the walking dead tv show its give the movie trilogy it’s own story

    Or another theory could be is he is in another coma just like the on he was in the beginning his physical injury have healed but he is not waking up yet can be reasonable cause for a time jump also he can wake up freak out and be a prisoner just like he imprisoned negan for some meany years and the community is trying to extract info he ends up over throughing the people imprisoning him and that takes over the community and that takes alot of time preparation and making firends to do all the while promising one day he will find them sends him in pursuit of his family at Alexandra and a wish to combine some how all the community’s to make up one vast community and restart a new civilization
    Then after a brief reunion and after all of this on the walking dead show he lives for a little while longer and eventually dies of old age or something for sure this time no dout by this time judith sould be close to 17 or 18 and from there the walking dead show if it show choses to go on that long can build a story around her and her father’s legacy

  8. After being captured by the Umbrella corporation, Rick Grimes is genetically experimented on and becomes the creature in the hive at the end of the the first resident evil movie.

  9. All the theories are not that good, Rick’s a escapes form imprison an battling his way back to his family, michonne gets wind of an ex cop an heads in his direction hoping its rick

  10. Either Rick has lost his memory or maybe the leader of the community has told him, if he helps them with a task he will fly him back home. He has to be somewhere he cannot hitch hike back home.

  11. Well for me the most obvious reason is initially he is severely injured maybe even having a few years of surgical recovery with rehabilitation then he would be indebted to his captures who will not let him leave.could even be imprisoned for trying to leave without consent or after being told no THAT he can’t leave either until his debt is replayed wich could be a few years of recovery followd by year’s of debt paying or he tries to sneak away and takes a vehicle and is caught and is now in prison himself and we pick up there with him trying to either escape while also trying to when his captors over and redeem himself to them to give his self another opportunity to find a way back to his family.

  12. Rick due to what happened to him has recovered except for memory loss but does remember he was a sheriff. I beleive if he eventully sees someone he used to know he might remember he has family. For all you know he might be enjoying his new life. Theory 1 is only choice

  13. Him being a walker and seeing through his eyes is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of…theory 1 one is close… Rick will be coming out of a coma again and will eventually come to his senses to come back to the show

  14. What is the possibility of Rick Grimes being in a coma. While he sleeps he gets a visit from Carl, Michonne and Judith in his dreams. They are telling him to keep on fighting, and not to give up. After seven years, he finally awakens from his coma. Confused about his were about, he finds out his family is not with him, and now he is trying to find away back to them no matter what it takes. The only thing that stands in between him and his family is the community he’s in. The community wants to keep the place a secret. So now he will have to find away out of the community in order find his family again.

  15. More than likely Rick has been brainwashed or programmed to be a soldier.
    Or threatened with the deaths of his loved ones if he contacts them.

  16. There’s only two theories that make sense. He’s either a prisoner of war and can’t leave or he’s on another continent and doesn’t have the means to get back. The continent theory may be ruled out if the voice on the radio that Eugene hears happens to be Maggie. My last ditch theory is that he shifted to Z Nation to help Lt Roberta Warren find a cure. Conspiracy theories are fun aren’t they?

  17. I love the walking dead & I will watch till it ends but I think 3 movies is a stupid idea,1 movie might work but they r really going to have to do a good job with it, as for ricks story not sure how they could do it & make it exciting at the same time. They need to do something to change it up as they keep repeating themselves, they conquer 1 group & then another & another. They need to bring bigger scenes with the walkers cause it’s not really about them much anymore & the name of the show is the walking dead. It’s sad for me to say but I think the show is going to have to come to an end soon as it’s popularity died a few seasons ago.

  18. He’s dead…. Maybe not in the movies yet, well not until the 3rd one but 7 years in the future he’s brown bread.

  19. My theory is he is being held captive, the new camp don’t want “infected” knowing where they are so they only let there soldiers leave, Polly was a soldier.

  20. I’ve always said:
    As in the Wizard of Oz, Rick dreamed the whole thing but in a semi-conscious state, drifts in and out. During this time we find many of the key players from the past are actually family members, hospital staff, etc. (Hershel a doctor, Maggie and Glenn patient and visitor, etc.) and so we see in “real time” how these folks weave into his semi-conscious state of mind. And the story pieces itself back in a reality that “explains” his incredible journey in the comatose state he’s come out of–– the last piece of the puzzle and the kicker is the actual ZA is really just beginning to happen as he joins the rest of us in the real nightmare about to begin…

  21. Theory 7: What if Rick Grimes is imprisoned where he is and he hasn’t been able to escape?

  22. Just bring RG back asap! Fans are hanging on for the movies!
    My family loves TWD, no matter what, since the beginning! COMA! Medically induced coma…because his injuries were so severe!
    Dream sequences will keep him close to his family and friends! Past, present and future! Judith could be the one to wake Rick up, because she needs him to help lead them to another home or where he is to save his friends!
    We all look forward to seeing the movies with Andrew Lincoln! He’s our hero! Rick Grimes can come back at any point, we’re with him fighting the remnants of Walkers, after 7 more years, they’re all falling apart, guts, skin and bones falling off! They’re all pretty gross by now, awesomeness!
    Maybe the new society has come up with a new serum that protects people from turning, ok that could happen in the 3rd movie!

  23. I know it’s a cliche but I prefer the lost memory theory. Then he gaines his memory back and begins his journey to get back to his family. Let’s be honest the other theories limits what he can do physically and one of the reasons we love Rick is his fierce fighting spirit and skills. I can’t imagine sitting through three movies without him being able to show his skills. Also, to see him as a Walker would break my heart and I probably wouldn’t watch the two after the first one. The first theory is truly the most logical. I know the producers and directors can do a lot with that theory. Maybe even have him trapped by this other community to where he’s like a prisoner almost but unknowingly to him, until he begins to gain his memory back and they try to prevent him from leaving. Which ever way I’m highly anticipating the “Return of Rick Grimes”

  24. Fans don’t want to see Rick as a walker or incapacitated. Rick needs to be Rick, with a mission. He would stay to find a cure or to recreate civilization where he could safely bring his family. Distance and the means to travel could be factors, but for Rick, being needed is the strongest tether. In the end, he is a hero and he does make sacrifices for the greater good.

  25. Rick is infected and imprisoned wherever they are, but because of their technology they have not made a cure, but have made a serum that he must take every 8 hours or he will turn, They study him to help further their research so he must find a way to battle his way out get free, and make it home over the course of three movies, meeting new allies, and new enemies in the walking dead universe.

  26. I believe that anyone brought yo this area memories are blocked upon arrival that includes Rick and Ann I think Heath is there too I think we saw his RV at the Judas/Ann’s place She was sending people on helicopters for food for her people The woman who Al in FEAR is there top I think they want people to train to fight walkers that’s the A&B significance!! They want people who can handle themselves They have more advanced weapons too We saw that too in FEAR from the woman Al met She was to kill anyone who knew about this helicopter and weapons She liked Al so she didn’t kill her Rick has to have amnesia nothing would stop him in getting back to Michonne Judith and his friends

  27. The movies will start as soon as the helicopter reaches their destination It will cover 7 years in 3 movies I believe I don’t think he will regain his full memory till he sees Michonne I really believe she will leave Alexandria to find Rick Maybe she gets a hint he’s alive They along with others will learn how to fight walkers using newer guns and equipment like the woman in the helicopter showed Althea on FEAR

  28. I also agree wit the memory loss. Then he gets it back and he is so far it takes him years to get back. The 3 movies goes through his journey

  29. Rick was saved. Tried to leave the community that he is at and killed a few residents along the way. Got caught . Now he too, like Negan ,is in a community jail cell for his crime. Karma

  30. Two Words: Time Travel

    ….orrrrr…..or, I kinda like a coma, cure, and possible imprisonment and eventual escape idea maybe like a parallel to Eugene in a way but having to deliver the cure (himself) to the west coast or some island with time being of the essence. But after delivering, the cure will still some time and then fights back to his family’s last where abouts. Depending on the above coma, imprisonment etc plots they could justify as much time that has passed as they want and essentially have him show up back at the camp anytime now or in the future. At the end of his journey there, they could conclude the series some time after that or right then when he gets there with some relatively good news.

  31. I totally thought the same thing. Nothing would keep Rick from his loved ones. Unless he was physically incapacitated. Make it work! We want him back!

  32. Brian, what are you talking about, several children have been born over the course of the show,and that was after the apocalypse.

  33. I think that would be brilliant in a way. I’m not sure how they can tie in the 10 seasons, but i the idea, and I’d love that this reboots in a way the series with the original characters.

  34. 1. I know “Rick” wanted a break to be with his family but he needs to return to the show. The show isnt strong enough without him and his deep love and comittment to his family.

    2. These plots can’t be the best you can do! Seriously. Ok. Rick lost a lot of blood, needed several surgeries and went into a comma…for 7 years. He wakes up to his new world and has a debt he needs to pay, but he desperately needs to get back to his family especially finding out hes been out of commission. Show the argument of the debt back and forth. In meantime hes taking the opportunity while plotting his escape to get in shape. A 7 year comma hed be weak, have muscle atrophy and would need to rebuild. Slowly incorporate his story back into the show. His command and planning wins bonus points and he begins to be a trusted li leader earning new freedoms that allow him in his free time to plot and plan his way back.

    3. The great escape and treck. Rick stores weapons, food, medical equipment and supplies in a truck and with help leaves. He leaves behind instructions and plans along with “I have to know and go”. He makes his way and arrives in the nick of time to take out Alpha and her bandits and save the day…along side negan. In the process, Maggie and hershel come back and she’s married again to one of Rick’s old friends or brother.

    4. Judith has dreams about her Dad coming and keeps telling her mom and brother to have faith hes on his way.

    5. Carl guides his father and Judith in dreams. Rick finds new faith and strength and harnesses his anger and faith for the greater good.

    Kick the whole thing by adding a double plot. The people who took rick were renegades but he turned it all around and they start to rebuild the world and take it back from the dead. In saving his people and the other communities they strengthen the new order while at the same time find new renegades and enemies who are afraid of the new order and reclaiming the world…bringing new enemies about.

    But, Rick is back with the love of his life, his baby girl and his new son.

  35. I think the movies are going to be Before the time jump in the show. I think we see him right after they took him, as soon as he arrives. A movie can be about just a few days or weeks, so we could see him taking some time to recover, then learning about the world outside their communities etc, Then trying to get home to them. That being said. I do think this is too late. I agree with the walking dead fatigue. I don’t think it’ll do well in theaters. They should stick to airing them on tv, like they Said they were going to.

  36. I think #3. Number #1 would only work IMO if someone he knows sees him and that jogs some memory.

  37. Damm, Scott! Excellent thoughts! I am now in the process of kicking myself in the ass for not having thought of this myself but obviously this is something that very well may happen and one hell of a way to explain why he hasn’t moved heaven and earth to get back to them like he normally would!

  38. No, he doesn’t mean a child dying and turning lol
    He means a child being born during the apocalypse, dying and then turning

  39. He wakes up from a coma and mixes realities, cant stop seeing walkers..Judith isn’t born, but possibly a neighbor child, all the characters show up on his day to day life. Violent outbursts and terrible confusion and mental turmoil.

  40. She was born before the apocalypse. He’s saying a child born after the apocalypse hasn’t turned. I can’t think of one.

  41. Rick needs to be the fighter fans love an have come to know . Bring him back fighting for his family an best friend an learning of his son .!!!! We need him !!!!!I I truly love the walking dead if not for Daryl an Carol I an Judith there relationship I wouldn’t watch anymore. Bring our leader back to his family on an off the show !!!!!!!!!

  42. What if Rick recovered from his coma, has amnesia, ends up marrying the lady that runs the place and only when Michonne returns does he remember his past life! He may even have a few kids now.

  43. He means a child born after z-day and then die and become a walker which is true this hasn’t happened but personally I believe the trilogy will be a dream state in which the final will be Rick dying and becoming a walker and the end scene will be Rick walking thru the empty field that also ties up the theory of who the lonely walker in a field is thats in the starting credits therefore becoming full circle

  44. Rick is taken away in the helicopter, takes sometime to recover in the first movie, learns of what a twisted place it is, escapes and is tracked as he is on way back to Alexandria, before being caught he leaves the clues Michonne finds, and is imprisoned, time jump, Michonne finds him and helps him escape …..

  45. This is my opinon i think the reason is they know all about his family were he is at.If he tries to leave they will be killed.Because Janice told them how valuble he is.

  46. Coma : This is a good idea. Just like in the beginning. And his present family doesn’t know about the first coma and there more the second one ! Also some missing characters are alive where he now is.


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