There were few fans who watched last Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead expecting Rick Grimes to make it out alive. The outing had been heavily promoted as Andrew Lincoln’s final hour on the show and the actor had been talking openly about leaving TWD for months. As sad as it was, it seemed like Rick was gonna die.
Except, he didn’t. Anne/Jadis took the injured Rick away in a helicopter to pastures new. The reason for this open-ended exit, we soon found out, was because we’d been played: Lincoln was not putting The Walking Dead behind him and is actually set to star in a trio of spinoff movies which will explore what happens to the character next.
Though most TWD devotees were pleased that Rick lived and are excited for this expansion of the franchise, there was still some talk about the manner of Rick’s exit being a cop-out. However, for former star of the show Michael Cudlitz – who played fan favorite Abraham Ford from season 4 to the beginning of season 7 – it was a smart move, as killing Rick for good would’ve “crossed a line.”
“I like it. I do think it keeps the door open. It keeps the door open for telling other stories with that character, very much in line with all these sort of other comic franchises where you have sort of alternate universes and concurrent universes and characters mingling that typically wouldn’t.
It’s a world that they’ve created, and I think to keep that character alive was a very, very smart choice because I think if they killed him, that’s when you really cross the line, that you can’t come back from.”
Cudlitz’s comparison of the incoming widening of The Walking Dead brand to other comic book franchises is a smart one, as it has to be the case that AMC’s inspired by the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe in their idea to create a shared world comprising of multiple TV shows and several movies.
But could we see more from Cudlitz as Abraham in the future of the franchise? It’s possible, as we’ve been told that the movies could be prequels that’ll fill in gaps in The Walking Dead timeline. But for now, we’ll just have to wait and see.