Will we ever see a version of The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes in it? That's certainly something that's very hard to imagine, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility. Not just speculatively, but right from the mouths of those who make those decisions. As we ramp up for The Walking Dead season 8, both Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick on the show, and creator Robert Kirkman say that, even though it would be difficult, the series could definitely carry on without its lead character in the future.
Both Andrew Lincoln and Robert Kirkman recently spoke with Entertainment Weekly in anticipation of The Walking Dead season 8, which is set to debut on AMC on Sunday, October 22. During the course of the conversation, they were asked about the possibility of the hit comic book series soldiering on without the man it has centered on for its entire run. According to Lincoln, it's set up for exactly that. Here's what he had to say about it.
"Absolutely. It's beautifully set up for that, for the camera to be certainly his story, and then it just shifts off. If ever there was a landscape or an environment to do that, it's our show. But whether or not that's this season... well, you have to find out, don't you?"
Despite that frustrating little tease, it is doubtful that Rick Grimes is going to bite the dust in The Walking Dead season 8. This season is going to be adapting the beloved All Out War storyline from the comics and *spoilers* Rick makes it out of that alive. But the show has strayed from the comics plenty. And there's that nagging shot of old man Rick from the The Walking Dead season 8 trailer that has everyone scratching their heads still. So how does Robert Kirkman, the man who created and still writes the The Walking Dead comics and is the heart of the show behind-the-scenes, feel about this? He's not ruling it out.
"I think it could. [Andrew Lincoln] is the leader of this show and his dedication to the show is absolutely inspiring. Everyone just looks up to him and he's a huge part of this show. But we have a very strong ensemble, and there's a lot of characters that could carry the show. The Walking Dead is a story very much about a world and a bunch of people inhabiting that world."
All of that said, Robert Kirkman also said to EW that he doesn't feel this is something that "we have to worry about anyttime soon." Plus, showrunner Scott Gimple doesn't think that would be a likely scenario. So we probably don't have to think about Rick passing the torch to Carl Grimes in the near future. But if The Walking Dead runs for another 10 seasons? Who knows? With this show, you can't rule out a major curveball.