When the Season 8 ‘Walking Dead’ trailer premiered at SDCC this summer, it offered a lot of footage from the upcoming season, although out of context, these clips didn’t mean much. But once the screen went dark, watchers were teased with an epilogue: a lingering shot of a walking cane, resting in the corner, followed by the image of Rick (Andrew Lincoln), older, with a scraggly gray beard, waking up in a bed with flowers on the nightstand beside it.
What did it mean? When last we left Rick and his allies, Sasha made the ultimate sacrifice turning the tide of ‘All Out War’ in their favor. Negan and the Saviors fled and the season ended on a rare non-cliffhanger. How did Rick go from basking in a rare victory to waking up under what passes for a hospital bed?
Of course, fans started concocting their theories as to what this epilogue meant, with one seeming to gain the most traction– that everything had been a dream. Some speculated that this indicated that Rick had never woken up from his coma at the beginning of the series and that the past seven seasons had all been a dream.
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple simply stated, “No coma. It’s not a coma.”
He did admit that this segment of the trailer was a bit hard to comprehend as even the father of the man who created ‘The Walking Dead’ misunderstood what he saw. “Robert [Kirkman]’s dad saw the trailer and said, ‘People are gonna think he’s waking up from the coma.’
It doesn’t help that Kirkman, just months ago played coy, teasing “I don’t know, maybe it was Rick waking up from his coma. Wouldn’t that be weird?”
But Kirkman also teased a certain event in the comic book series, a time jump that occurred between storylines, jumping forward a few years. The TV show is in the thick of ‘All Out War’ and this time jump occurred after that storyline in the books. Then again, the show makes a point of not sticking faithfully to the source material, because then readers would already know where the show was going. The producers may do some creative shuffling with the show’s chronology.
“Or was it the time jump?” Kirkman mused. “I’m pretty sure you’ll learn in the first episode what that means.”
Or not. Separately, Gimple stated, “We will not get the definitive answer as to what that’s about in the premiere.”
The Season 8 premiere airs on October 22nd, and is the show’s 100th episode, so brace yourself. There’s no way a milestone like this will be another ho-hum outing.
Do you have a theory as to what will happen to Rick? What would you like to see happen in the 8th season?