Just over a week ago, AMC nearly broke the internet when they released the very first trailer for season 8 of The Walking Dead. Giving us an extended look at the upcoming batch of episodes, there was lots to discuss and dissect, and while we’ve been doing just that, there’s still one moment in particular which has many people confused, and that’s what’s being referred to as the Old Man Rick scene.
At the end of the trailer, we’re shown a walking stick and a vase of flowers in what looks to be a white, sunlit room, possibly in a hospital. It’s then revealed that the patient lying in bed is Rick Grimes, now with greying hair and a beard like he’s taking grooming tips from Hugh Jackman in Logan.
Naturally, this has fans speculating. Due to its similarity to the opening scenes of the pilot episode – in which Rick woke up in hospital to find himself in a zombie apocalypse – many are worrying that The Walking Dead is going to pull that most hated of plot twists on us: “And it was all a dream…” But that can’t be what’s happening here, can it? Well, if you’re a reader of Robert Kirkman’s comic books, you probably have an idea of what this is echoing.
In the comics, the “All Out War” arc ends with Negan and Rick engaging in a bitter standoff which culminates with Negan breaking our hero’s leg. The following arc, “A New Beginning,” then jumped forward two years and checked in on Rick, now using a cane to support his leg and rocking a more mature look.
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The only thing here is that the trailer is thought to contain only footage from the first several episodes, as filming is still currently underway. If it follows the comics narrative, The Walking Dead shouldn’t reach the time jump until the end of the season, at least. In fact, that’s something that Kirkman touched on earlier today during a TCA panel, when he said the following:
“That’s an intriguing tidbit that we did throw out there on purpose, and we’re hoping that people continue to question how it is that fits into the storyline and what it is,” he said. “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 if you were a comic book fan, so there’s a mystery to that.”
Thankfully, it sounds like we’ll be getting an explanation fairly soon, as Kirkman went on to say, “I’m pretty sure you’ll learn in the first episode what it all means.” Hopefully he’s right, as we’re quite confused at the moment and are eager for some answers on how the Old Man Rick scene fits into everything.
At least we can take comfort in the fact that all will be revealed (if Kirkman’s to be believed, that is) on October 22nd though, when The Walking Dead returns to AMC.