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'The Walking Dead': 5 hints from creator Robert Kirkman on how it will end

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Photo: AMC

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of  The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo Entertainment will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener. 

One of the main inspirations for Robert Kirkman’s creation of The Walking Dead was to explore the story of a zombie apocalypse that never ends. As in, where a big-screen zombie tale reaches its conclusion and the survivors go off to some new place or circumstance to start over, in Kirkman’s apocalypse, the story would roll on, and any starting over to be done would happen in, during, the apocalypse.

Still, as Kirkman has acknowledged through the years, The Walking Dead, both the comic book and the TV series, will end at some point (not that anyone’s saying that point should come anytime soon). Here, a roundup of some of Kirkman’s most memorable musings on how the story should and will end. Read it with just the tiniest grain of salt — after all, Kirkman could change his mind about any or all of these things.

Photo: Gene Page/AMC

1. Robert Kirkman Wants Alexandria to Open a Post Office

Kirkman told Rolling Stone in 2013, “If I don’t get bored and people are still enjoying the story, I can do 1,000 issues of The Walking Dead. So it is actually possible to tell a story that follows the collapse of civilization into the dark ages into the rebirth of civilization, where things are completely different. There could be an issue 700 of The Walking Dead that’s about people delivering mail. That is exciting to me.” If, perhaps after the upcoming “All Out War” against the Saviors in Season 8, the new civilization reaches a point where there is a need for mail delivery, let’s get Eugene on the job. He’s already got the shorts.

2. Famous Last Words

In that same Rolling Stone interview, Kirkman said he had just written the scene that would eventually end the comic book, which reached issue 171 with the September 2017 book. “I know what I want the final dialogue to be. It may change, but the interesting thing to me is that I can never tell anyone involved in this show what the ending that I have in mind is, because the comic book most likely will outlive the show,” Kirkman said. “I can’t have any nugget of what I have planned making it into the show, because if the show ends on Season 12, but the comic doesn’t end for, eight, 10 or 20 more years, my ending will be spoiled. That would piss me off.”

About that final dialogue, let the guessing games begin, much like the years-long obsession Gilmore Girls fans had going after series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino departed the series before its finale, leaving viewers wondering what her famous last four words of dialogue would have been. They were finally revealed in last year’s GG revival series on Netflix.

3. No, Really, It’s Going to End

Supporting his statements about having conceived a conclusion for TWD back in 2013, Kirkman’s most recent chatter about ending the comic book came in July 2017, during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. “I think about two or three years ago, I had a pretty good idea for a definitive ending,” Comicbook.com quoted Kirkman saying. “I have known that since then and been working towards that, so I know exactly where I’m going and what’s gonna happen when I get there.

“I feel like the book, since I know it’s gonna be such a long journey, we’re always building to something and there’s always something new that can happen and you really have to do a lot of planning … it’s actually more difficult to write The Walking Dead than it’s ever been … to be able to top yourself, and keep things fresh, and keep things interesting. It gets harder and harder and harder as you go. Knowing what the end game is and working towards that, makes it a little bit easier.”

4. There Will Be No Cure — Or Maybe There Will Be?

Another Kirkman reveal from 2017 SDCC: the story of The Walking Dead will end without there being a cure for zombiedom. “As far as actually trying to solve the thing, I’ve always thought that one of the best things about this show is that it’s not about scientists, and it’s not about people that would take that on as a task, because I feel like that’s unrelatable,” Kirkman told fans at SDCC.

Buuut, in a 2015 interview on Marc Maron’s WTF? podcast, Kirkman didn’t rule out a solution to the titular walking dead. “Maybe. You never know,” Variety quoted Kirkman as saying. “I do hope that The Walking Dead goes on long enough that when it ends, it’s like, ‘Good thing we took care of those zombies.’”

Photo: AMC

5. Rick Will Die, But the Apocalypse Is Not His Coma Dream

Kirkman was challenged in 2014 to confirm the apocalypse, i.e. the events of the entire TV series and comic books, is not just a figment of Rick Grimes’s coma dreams after he got shot while on sheriff duty. In an Oct. 24, 2014, tweet, he went on record: “Rick is NOT still in a coma. The events of TWD are definitely happening.”

The coma theories were re-sparked earlier this summer when the Season 8 trailer revealed “Old Man Rick” in a bed. The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple confirmed we’ll find out more about the senior Rick throughout Season 8, but Kirkman has shared bleaker Rick news: he will die before the story of TWD ends.

“I’ve said before, Rick does not survive to the end,” Kirkman reminded fans during an SDCC panel this summer. “It was years ago, so you guys probably forgot, but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise.”

Share your feelings with the group: How do you think The Walking Dead should and will end? Who should be the last characters standing? And threats of rioting upon the death of Daryl Dixon are well established, but would you continue to watch a Rick Grimes-less TWD?

The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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