The one moment from The Walking Dead‘s season 8 trailer that got everyone talking was its shocking final scene. In a bright white room, we see Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes wake up from what looks to be a deep sleep, complete with white hair and beard to match. The moment, dubbed “Old Man Rick” by fans, has spawned various theories about what it could signify, but so far, we’re still feeling pretty confused.
Speaking at the Television Critics Association this past weekend, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman was on hand to explain what the intention was behind showing that moment in the trailer and to tease that fans may be on the right track with their theories about it.
“[Showrunner] Scott Gimple will give me very harsh words if I were to comment on that in any way, but you’re supposed to be talking about that, and that is an intriguing tidbit that we did throw out there on purpose. We’re hoping that people continue to question how that fits into the storyline and what it is. Comic book fans know where a scene that kind of looked like that would fall, but it also doesn’t seem like we would be getting to that just yet. You’ll just have to see.”
To clarify, most believe that this shot was a hint that the show will be adapting “A New Beginning” for the screen. That arc sees the story jump forward two years after Rick’s climactic battle with Negan, an incident which left him needing the aid of a walking stick (an item featured in the trailer scene).
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The only thing is, Gimple has hinted that this moment comes from the season premiere, and the show isn’t about to jump forward two years at the start of season 8 – surely that would happen at the beginning of season 9, or maybe the end of 8, right?
Kirkman also spoke more generally about the tone, pace and focus of season 8, confirming that it would be mostly based on his “All-Out War” arc from the comics (the one that precedes “A New Beginning).
“It’s a little early, but we all know it’s the all-out war story. So in Season 8 we’re trying to do a more fast-paced season, a more action-packed season, really focusing on momentum, and we feel like over the first seven seasons we kind of set all of the characters into place, and now it’s time to break them to a certain extent.”
The Walking Dead season 8 kicks off on October 22nd on AMC.