During The Walking Dead Comic-Con panel, the show's cast and producers unveiled the first Season 8 trailer, which ended with quite the shocking surprise, a glimpse "Old Man Rick," which raised many questions. Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman teased that the Walking Dead Season 8 premiere explains Old Man Rick, but it seems that isn't entirely the case. During a new interview, showrunner Scott M. Gimple teases that while we will in fact get a look at Old Man Rick in the premiere, but the full mystery behind this image won't be solved until around the midseason finale.
"I will say that we won't know exactly what that's about after the first episode. But we will know it about halfway through the season. We won't quite know what it's about, and then we'll get an answer to that about halfway through. It's something that's going to play out."
Entertainment Weekly also spoke with executive producer/director Greg Nicotero, who teased that Old Man Rick is, "definitely not a one-time thing," with Scott M. Gimple teasing that this first look at the older Rick Grimes will eventually lead to a bigger discovery. Scott M. Gimple also debunked a fan theory that surfaced after the first trailer was released, that involves the series premiere back in 2010, with some thinking that the entire series has been a dream in Rick's head, and Old Man Rick is him waking up from his coma, for real this time.
""I can say that that is not him waking up from the coma in the hospital. Some people thought that, and it's not that."
Many fans who are familiar with the Walking Dead comics have surmised that this Old Man Rick image could signify that a time jump from the comics is coming. In the comics, after the two-volume story All Out War plays out, the next volume jumps ahead two years in time, showing all of the communities involved finally at peace. Still, the amount of grey in Rick's hair in beard hints that the time jump will be much bigger than two years, although Andrew Lincoln wouldn't confirm if the image represents the time jump from the comics. Here's what he had to say about what Old Man Rick brings to the story.
"My instinct was, what a great storytelling device. That was my instinct. I thought it was very interesting. And also gives us an opportunity to do something else a little ahead of the game, which I think is very, very neat. I mean, it's a gray Rick. It's an older Rick. So by virtue of the fact that you see that means that it's in the future. It will become somewhat clearer after the October premiere. Then again, it may not be. It maybe still is somewhat opaque. I think that that's possibly all I can say on the matter."
Before production started, the series promoted three actors to Walking Dead series regulars, Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis), Stephen Ogg (Simon) and Katelyn Nacon (Enid). They will be joined by returning regulars Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Melissa McBride (Carol), Lennie James (Morgan), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Alanna Masterson (Tara), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Christian Serratos, (Rosita), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Austin Amelio (Dwight), Tom Payne (Jesus), Xander Berkeley (Gregory) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan). Hopefully we'll find out more about The Walking Dead Season 8 very soon, as we get closer and closer to the October 22 premiere.