Here's all the information The Walking Dead has revealed thus far about the group responsible for abducting Rick Grimes via helicopter. Andrew Lincoln's departure from The Walking Dead was well-publicized ahead of the show's ninth season, but it wasn't clear exactly how the lead protagonist would bow out. After falling off a horse and impaling himself on an inconveniently-placed metal pole, Rick stumbled back home to find his people in danger from an oncoming zombie horde. In a heroic act of self-sacrifice, Rick exploded the bridge separating his friends from the dead, sending himself tumbling into the river.
Rick was presumed dead, however, the likes of Daryl and Michonne continued to hunt in vain for a body, hoping for some kind of closure. That closure was not forthcoming, as Rick hadn't perished at all in the explosion, but was instead whisked away by an unknown group of survivors. Badly wounded and close to death, Rick was discovered by Jadis, who was already planning on escaping with the mysterious, unknown group. When the pick-up helicopter arrives, Jadis manages to convince the group to take Rick along too.
Rick hasn't been seen in The Walking Dead since, but the mystery itself has developed significantly, both in spinoff series Fear The Walking Dead, and in a short teaser for the forthcoming The Walking Dead movie, in which Rick's fate will be fully explored. Until such time, here's everything viewers currently know about the mysterious helicopter group.
The Helicopter Group Isn't The Walking Dead's Commonwealth
In Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic series, the final arc is dominated by the appearance of a massive, greatly advanced settlement known as The Commonwealth and as soon as it became clear that a group of survivors in the AMC series were piloting a chopper, fans began to connect the dots. The Commonwealth theory gained traction when the helicopter group reappeared in Fear The Walking Dead wearing thick body armor, similar to that worn by Commonwealth soldiers in the comic books.
Speaking at this year's San Diego Comic Con, however, executive producer, Scott M. Gimple, confirmed that the helicopter group and the Commonwealth were two separate communities. This looks to put an end to any suggestion that Rick's fate might be explored in The Walking Dead's prime TV series.
In The Walking Dead's season 9 finale, the existence of the Commonwealth was first hinted through Eugene's homemade radio, and the group may also be connected to the Georgie character introduced previously. Clearly, the Commonwealth are set to play a big part in The Walking Dead on the small screen but if the helicopter group are a separate entity, any reunion for Rick and his former friends looks unlikely for the foreseeable future.
The Walking Dead's Helicopter Group Is (Possibly) Based In Philadelphia
Precious little was revealed about The Walking Dead's upcoming Rick Grimes movie at SDCC 2019, with the exception of a fairly mundane teaser trailer. The video confirmed Rick's return and announced a theatrical release but otherwise only featured a helicopter flying towards a city. Fortunately, eagle-eyed fans noticed that the city silhouette used in the teaser shared a striking resemblance to the Philadelphia skyline.
This connection is unlikely to be a coincidence, and Philadelphia makes sense as a potential setting for the Rick Grimes movie - being close enough to The Walking Dead's location to interfere, but far enough away so as to go largely unnoticed. Fear The Walking Dead, however, is set further east, and the helicopter group's considerable presence in the spinoff proves the extent of their reach, influence and resources. Philadelphia is also an industrial city home to many oil refineries, possibly explaining how the community fuel their choppers.
If the helicopter group do reside within the city of Philly, this would provide the Rick Grimes movie with a distinctly different, more urban setting compared to The Walking Dead's TV output.
The Walking Dead's A & B Mystery
Shortly before Rick was taken, The Walking Dead triggered a mystery regarding the helicopter group classifying the people they abduct as either an "A" or a "B." The specifics of this system have yet to be fully revealed. Viewers only know that being an "A" or "B" has an effect on whether the helicopter takes you or not and is based on some sort of personality characteristic, with many speculating that the terms define whether someone is a leader or a follower, based on the conversation Jadis shared with Gabriel. This would make sense, as Jadis also described Negan as an "A."
Interestingly, Jadis admits to the helicopter group shortly before Rick's abduction that the dying former cop is a "B," despite previously having referred to him as an "A." This change of heart can be interpreted in several ways. Perhaps Jadis was simply trying to ensure Rick's survival by first labeling him as an "A" when he was actually a "B" all along, or maybe the "A" and "B" tags instead refer to physical strength, and since Rick had been gravely wounded, he had been demoted from "A" status.
Known Members Of The Walking Dead's Helicopter Group
Aside from Jadis, who has been presented more as an associate of the helicopter group than as a full member, only Fear The Walking Dead has provided an insight into the people behind Rick's abduction. In Fear The Walking Dead season 5, Maggie Grace's Al investigates a corpse covered in body armor and is abducted as a result. Al's captor is revealed to be a woman named Isabelle - the first member of the helicopter group to be identified.
While Isabelle doesn't reveal the exact nature of the group's mission, her presence does provide plenty of insight into the their methods, ideology and rules. Predictably, Isabelle claims that the helicopter community is looking to rebuild civilization on a large scale. However, they also prioritize this mission above all else, and the helicopter group work on a principle of absolute secrecy, with Isabelle going so far as to consider killing Al just to stop any potential spread of information. This same grim fate befell the corpse Al investigated previously, demonstrating that the helicopter group don't take well to anyone who might endanger their mission, even their own members.
Isabelle contacts her community via radio, and it's strongly implied that they own more than one chopper, since the voice on the other end offers to come and collect Isabelle after she runs out of fuel.
Characters The Walking Dead's Helicopter Group Have Taken
Aside from Rick, Jadis and (temporarily) Al, it's also been confirmed that the helicopter group are behind Heath's disappearance. Played by Corey Hawkins, Heath was written out of The Walking Dead in season 7 in order for the actor to appear in 24: Legacy but no narrative explanation was provided for Heath's sudden absence.
The Walking Dead's showrunner, Angela Kang, has since revealed that the show's intention was always to imply that Heath had been abducted by the helicopter group after his departure. Fans had previously speculated this to be the case after Heath's RV was spotted inside Jadis' junkyard. Heath aside, it's clear that Jadis has been facilitating the abduction of many others during her time as leader of the Junkyard community.
The Walking Dead season 10 premieres October 6th on AMC.