Over the past fourteen years of the franchise, across multiple mediums, The Walking Dead has had it all. An endless stream of great characters, shocking deaths, an abundance of gore and violence, larger than life villains, alien invasions…
What? You don’t remember when Rick and co. battled extra-terrestrials, who were revealed to be behind the whole zombie apocalypse in the first place? Well, let’s jog your memory.
Back in 2010, issue #75 of the comic book included a “twist ending” as it saw Rick wake up in a full-colour comic book world where he and his friends wore superhero costumes and battled zombies and aliens with lightsabers and all kinds of cyborg embellishments. It only ran for about eight pages, but it so thoroughly jumped the shark in every way that some fans totally missed the fact that this was one big joke and subsequently complained that the comic was “ruined” forever.
Now, in a new interview with EW, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has reflected on his “Greatest Story Never Told,” revealing how the spoof ending of issue #75 had its origins in an off-hand comment he made in the comic book’s letters page early on in the series:
“Very early on in the series I started getting letters where people would say, ‘You say you’re going to do this book for a really long time, but this idea doesn’t seem to have any legs.’ My response as a joke was, ‘Oh, we’re going to this until issue 75, and then I’m going to run out of ideas, and then I’m going to do an alien invasion and just kind of completely ruin the book. That’s when we’ll jump the shark and it’ll be terrible and everybody will hate it.’”
“When we got to issue 75, I knew that I’d publicly joked about that and it was kind of a thing that the fanbase knew about. Like, ‘Oh, 75, that’s when the aliens come in, right?’
But could aliens ever make it to the TV series? Maybe the “Old Man Rick” scene teased in the season 8 trailer is some kind of dream sequence where Andrew Lincoln’s character imagines the world being invaded from outer space? It’d be hilarious if approached in the right way, but it would be sure to blow the tops off overly-serious fans.
The Walking Dead returns – with or without aliens – to AMC this Sunday, October 22nd.