The Walking Dead will solve the mystery of Old Man Rick around the time of season 8's midseason finale. If there's one thing AMC and the TWD creative team have proven themselves masters at in the last few years, it's creating anticipation for the return of the show. Going into season 6, fans were eager to see the aftermath of Rick killing Pete in front of the entire town of Alexandria. The big question heading into season 7 was just who Negan would kill with Lucille, as a message of power toward Rick's group. Now, as season 8 looms, fans brace for all-out war between Rick's forces and Negan's Saviors.
Thanks to The Walking Dead season 8's trailer - which debuted back at San Diego Comic-Con - though, there has been another big question on fans' lips as the premiere draws closer and closer: What's the story with Old Man Rick? Some wondered if Rick was, in fact, waking up from his coma, and the entire series would have been revealed to be a dream. Those familiar with the TWD comics saw it as likely being Rick from after the time jump that takes place on the page following the all-out war arc. Others just found themselves baffled entirely.
While Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple has since dropped the hammer on the "it was all a dream" theory, he also tells EW that the full story behind Old Man Rick won't be revealed until around season 8's midseason finale episode. That means that the mystery won't be solved until late November or early December. Here's Gimple's full quote on the matter.
"I will say that we won’t know exactly what that’s about after the first episode. But we will know it about halfway through the season. We won’t quite know what it’s about, and then we’ll get an answer to that about halfway through. It’s something that’s going to play out."
Logically, the time jump remains the most plausible explanation for Old Man Rick, but TWD creator Robert Kirkman has seen fit to tease fans about a possible swerve in that regard. Of course, this could just be Kirkman being Kirkman, as the man has long-since proven that he loves messing with the heads of TWD's fanbase.
Whatever the explanation for Old Man Rick ends up being, all signs point to the journey getting there being one of the most casualty-filled in the history of The Walking Dead. Perhaps the better question to ask is not what leads to Old Man Rick, but rather, which characters will still be alive by the time the story reaches him?
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres October 22 on AMC.