Fans went wild after The Walking Dead‘s season 8 trailer, first released at Comic-Con, dropped an unexpected twist in its final moments. Dubbed the “Old Man Rick” scene, the preview ended with a glimpse at a greying, bearded, bedridden Rick, seemingly a flash-forward to some point in the character’s future.
It turns out that we weren’t the only ones surprised by the scene, as star Andrew Lincoln was also shocked when he discovered that Old Man Rick was coming to the show. He spoke about the sequence to EW during a recent interview and in doing so, potentially gave us a clue as to its meaning:
I was shocked and kind of excited by it. 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.”
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Lincoln then went on to tease when we should expect some clarification of what the scene means. As per previous comments from The Walking Dead cast and crew members, the actor promised that it would be referenced in the season 8 premiere.
“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.”
So, what can we deduce about the Old Man Rick scene from Lincoln’s words? Well, the actor’s description of it as a “storytelling device” is quite interesting. Put together with his assurance that we would kind of get some answers in the opening episode, it sounds like the flash-forward will take place in the season premiere before being picked up and fully explained at a later date.
This framing device is a clever twist on a time jump that occurred in the comics, too. After Rick defeated Negan in the “All Out War” storyline, the narrative then kicked forward two years and rejoined the characters in a very different point in their lives. Just when that will happen on the TV show we don’t know, but the Old Man Rick scene confirms it’s coming soon.
The Walking Dead returns for its 100th episode on Sunday, October 22nd.