Spoiler alert: On The Walking Dead, even Rick Grimes isn’t safe.
The Walking Dead, based on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman, follows a small group of survivors who are led by Georgia Sheriff Rick Grimes (British actor Andrew Lincoln) in a quest to try to find a safe haven far away from the menacing zombie-cannibal “walkers,” a.k.a. “biters.”
The Walking Dead on the AMC network, said to be most popular basic cable show in America, is scheduled to return for season 4 in October. The show is part of AMC’s powerhouse Sunday night franchise which also includes Mad Men and Breaking Bad. The season 3 finale featured the death by zombie of series regular Laurie Holden, who played “Andrea” for all three seasons, a development that was traumatic for many fans. As viewers know, “Dale” and “Shane,” two other principal characters, died in season 2.
In an interview, Kirkman, who is also the executive producer of the zombie apocalypse TV show, has said that even Sheriff — or perhaps more precisely former sheriff — Rick Grimes is not “out of the woods” as it were, and if so, the remaining group of series survivors could move forward without Rick:
“We’ve been saying that no one is safe on this show, and I wouldn’t rule out seeing the death of Rick Grimes at almost any point. We really like to keep people guessing, and I could definitely see some interesting stories coming from that. While Rick has been a pretty solid leader, he’s definitely made his share of mistakes. I think seeing Daryl or Maggie or Glenn picking up a larger leadership role in the group could pose some interesting story possibilities.”
He also said that because the comic book plot developments are so different from what occurs on the TV episodes, it gives him and the others on the creative team the opportunity to pick and choose and perhaps get a do-over in what amounts to an alternative Walking Dead universe portrayed on television: “Well that’s a long process involving all the writers, the showrunner, everybody. It’s really a matter of sitting down at the beginning of the season and working out what happened in the comics and when and how and why, and seeing if it plugs into our world. It’s a pretty organic thing. Also [it's a chance] to set up things and do comic book moments in ways that I didn’t really do when I was writing the comics — with the benefit of hindsight.”
Do you think The Walking Dead would really ever kill off the Rick Grimes character, and if so, how do you see the show going forward without him as part of the cast?