The Walking Dead hasn’t been shy about Andrew Lincoln’s departure. The show has been teasing that the first eight episodes of the season are going to be “Rick’s final days” for a long time, and revealed Rick’s departure during Season 8. But that doesn’t mean Rick won’t die until Episode 8. He’s going to die a lot sooner than that. This post has major spoilers for Season 9 of The Walking Dead, so only read on if you are OK with being spoiled.
According to an interview with EW and Comicbook.com, Rick’s last episode is going to air on November 4. It will be Episode 5, called “What Comes After.”
Before the official announcement, fan rumors hinted that Rick might actually die earlier in the season rather than in Episode 8. Once the names of the episodes were released, fans guessed that “What Comes After” could easily be about what happens after Rick dies.
Greg Nicotero is directing the Season 9 premiere and Season 9 Episode 5. That’s another reason why fans thought early on that Episode 5 might be the episode where Rick dies. And it turns out they were right.
Some rumors indicate that there might be a second time jump in Episode 6. If that’s true, it would make sense that a time jump would happen right after Rick’s death. But it’s too bad that Carl’s not still around. The character would have had a powerful role if Rick died, and a powerful responsibility of carrying on after his dad. Sadly, that’s a story that fans won’t be seeing.
Here are the titles for the first eight episodes of The Walking Dead.
- S9E01: “A New Beginning” – Writer Angela Kang / Director Greg Nicotero
- S9E02: “The Bridge” – Writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick / Director Daisy Mayer
- S9E03: “Warning Signs” – Writer Channing Powell / Director Director Dan Liu
- S9E04: “The Obliged” – Writer Geraldine Inoa / Director Rosemary Rodriguez
- S9E05: “What Comes After” – Writer Matthew Negrete / Director Greg Nicotero
- S9E06: “Untitled” – Writer Eddie Guzelian / Director Larry Teng (Rumors indicate this might be called “The Whisperers,” but Wikipedia has this episode titled as “Who Are You Now.”
- S9E07: “Stradivarius” – Writer Vivian Tse / Director Michael Cudlitz
- S9E08: “Evolution” – Writer David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick / Director Michael E. Satrazemis
Andrew Lincoln has said that he and Scott Gimple were planning his exit as far back as Season 4, but they originally intended for him to leave in Season 8, Comicbook.com reported. He just wasn’t ready when Season 8 rolled around, however.
Norman Reedus said he was really bummed about Lincoln leaving because they’re good friends. He tried to talk him out of it, but Lincoln has two small kids and lives in England. He wants to spend more time with his children.
Fans have long been wondering if Lincoln might be making a temporary exit but his character will still be alive somewhere. In fact, Lincoln once promised that Rick Grimes is “far from over.” But at the same time, he said that when they were shooting his death, his character was losing so much blood that he wasn’t sure it was even realistic. “I think it was about day two of filming and I asked Greg Nicotero, who was shooting the episode, ‘How many pints of blood does a human actually hold?,” he said.
This quote makes it seem like Rick is indeed dying and not just departing the series. But only time will tell.