On TV, not all twists are created equal. There have been plenty of series that offered up disappointing explanations for their storylines. And some Walking Dead fans got nervous when they first saw Old Man Rick in the Season 8 trailer.
With its no-holds-barred approach to violence and the numerous brutal deaths of major characters, the hit AMC series is no stranger to shocking moments. But the idea of seeing a much-older Rick — complete with a long white beard — has thrown fans off in a different way.
There have been many fan theories about how the series will integrate Old Man Rick into the fray. Here are a few of the more extreme theories, as well as an exploration of one that could actually help improve The Walking Dead.
1. Maybe Rick has actually been in a coma this whole time
Some Walking Dead fans were angry when they saw Old Man Rick in the Season 8 trailer. That’s because they assumed the series was teasing a cop-out ending: Rick has actually just been in a coma the entire time.
That would mean, of course, that the whole zombie apocalypse never really happened. And that Lori and Shane are still alive, and he never met Morgan, Michonne, Daryl, or any of his myriad of enemies. In at least some small way, that would be great news for Rick. But it would be terrible news for fans who’ve become genuinely invested in these characters’ survival.
The theory became so popular, in fact, that The Walking Dead‘s showrunner had to address it in a recent interview — and his response was surprisingly candid.