Fans of the graphic novel The Walking Dead would no doubt have by now heard of the abrupt ending to the 16-year-old series. Creator Robert Kirkman himself was quoted as saying, “As I worked to come up with ways to expand the story, none of it felt right. Everything felt like an unnecessary detour. It was, for lack of better word, filler. The harder I tried to come up with new places to go, the clearer it was to me that this is what the story needed … it needed to end.”
Quick drop; Sudden stop
With issue #191, we were introduced to the harrowing cliffhanger of protagonist Rick Grimes being shot by a disgruntled survivor and left for dead. Our worst fears were confirmed in issue #192 when upon entering the scene, Carl finds his father in a zombified state. In the end, Carl ends up shooting his father in the head, bringing things to visceral end.
“This needs to happen. Whether I want it or not.”
However, instead of seeing a plan for revenge unfold, issue #193 did the unexpected. Mirroring episode 6 in season 9 of AMC’s TV adaptation of The Walking Dead, readers were treated to a “time jump”. A decade or so after the events of #192, we see Carl and Sophia (both of whom are dead in the TV series) as a married couple on a farm house, raising their daughter Andrea. Human society has for the most part, returned to normal. No cure was ever found and the Walkers continue to exist, but they pose much less of a threat than they once did.
The whole issue initially comes across as pedestrian and it ends with Carl relaxing on a rocking chair, recounting yet another story about his father’s adventures to Andrea. But in truth, the story stands as a testament to Rick’s numerous sacrifices throughout the series. Despite it all, humanity has managed to endure.
Plans for AMC’s future
So, what does this mean for AMC’s The Walking Dead? Despite Andrew Lincoln’s departure after the midpoint of season 9, the return of Rick Grimes has been confirmed. Audiences know that the character is in fact, still alive and slated to feature in 3 The Walking Dead TV movies. In other words, the TV adaptation of the comic book series will continue to run unabated, at least for the foreseeable future. There’s even talk of AMC going beyond the source material (more than they already have). So even though it might be safe for comic book fans to mourn, followers of the TV series should definitely keep their eyes (and their gunsights) on the horizon.