Regardless of how it turned out, What Comes After was always going to be the most significant episode of The Walking Dead season 9, and arguably the entire show to date.
So it seems Rick isn't actually dead.
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War", which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan.
"There is more story to tell and we'll be telling it", said TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple to The Hollywood Reporter. The current plan is for at least three movies, though there's flexibility.
Actor Andrew Lincoln, who has played Grimes in "The Walking Dead", made an exit from the show on the November 4 episode, and will feature in the films. It would have been a fitting death for Rick, coupled with some badass last words, "I got 'em". After deliriously meandering back to camp, with a huge horde of zombies on his tail, Rick realises what he must do to protect Alexandria, The Kingdom, and everyone else, before saying his goodbyes and going out in true Sheriff Grimes style.
'The story of Rick will go on in films, ' Gimple says. The movies are scheduled to begin production in 2019. 'We know Rick Grimes, he would want to be home'. However, other cast members were much more succinct, with Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler) suggesting, "Go f-ck yourself" and Christian Serratos (Rosita Espinosa) proposing a simple "Badass".
Bubbling under all of this are the reports that ratings for The Walking Dead have been falling for a few years now, and now hover around what they were for the first season. "You know what he's capable of, and I thought the idea of a character that the audience knows and has lived with - and who has oscillated between psycho and father for nine years - to start in a completely different place, was a really interesting, insane place to begin". I hope people will be relieved that he hasn't bled out - although the man must have about 28 pints of blood in him because he was bleeding for a considerable amount of that last episode! It's being planned as a trilogy and will likely air on AMC.
AK: You know this is a big part of the story going forward and I think what I'm really excited about is it's giving us the opportunity to tell the story of leadership with the characters that are left behind.