6 ways The Walking Dead could end
Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan are hanging up their machetes after a decade of zombie killing. Picking up where Breaking Bad and Mad Men left off, The Walking Dead has been ubiquitous for a decade and keeps AMC highly acclaimed. Angela Kang has taken over as showrunner and after the Season 9 trailer premiered at Comic Con and premiere episode photography dropped, fans can’t wait to see what happens next to Rick Grimes and the gang next.
The Walking Dead‘s fan base has been strong enough to maintain strong viewership for eight seasons, four seasons of Fear The Walking Dead, Talking Dead, and video games. How could The Walking Dead end in a way that satisfies fans and respects the show? It’s impossible to choose just one scenario but here are six possible and proper endings for AMC’s The Walking Dead.
1. The Cure
We know from the trailer that the Commonwealth, a technologically advanced society, will be joining the show. Maybe there, or in some other lab that hasn’t exploded like in the Season 1 finale, someone is inventing something to cure the virus. A cure could stop Walker bites from making someone turn, stop one from turning after a non-Walker related death, or stop a walker dead in its tracks with no virus to keep the dead moving and hungry. Without this immediate threat, society can try to pick itself up and some semblance of order can be restored. A cure won’t rebuild society, but it will make living in that world much easier.
2. M. Night Shyamalan
This show loves showing us helicopters. Most recently, Jadis saw one in her dumpster home and sees another one with the same logo in the trailer for this season. She could be going through PTSD or another mental health struggle; she’s an artist after all. But it could be another group or a plot twist. Is she being filmed for a reality show? Is Europe or another country going to save them? Was this chemical warfare from the Russians? Is Margaret Peterson Haddix going to sue AMC the way she did M. Night Shyamalan for swagger-jacking her novel, Running Out of Time? Could the entire series have been an experiment conducted by aliens? So many questions. So many possibilities. A twist ending would probably annoy some fans, but it’d offer more closure than The Sopranos did.
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As the show has progressed for nine seasons, one might notice a trend: most of the conflict and almost all of the violence is between and instigated by male characters. Maggie might not be around after this season, but she set the tone that in this world, women can lead. The show has slowly started to feature more women-only scenes that pass the Bechdel Test and often offer solutions to conflict. These scenes tend to be peaceful and rarely end in violence, unlike the scenes that include their male counterparts. If this pattern continues, the men will all kill themselves off and the world will be run by women. Not a bad fate for the future. If the show is looking to end in a way that will make its fans happy, keeping the women alive and putting them in positions of power is a great strategy. Whether the show is looking for a complete resolution or something more open-ended that leaves open the possibility for a reunion down the road, seeing a world run by women would please fans and make sense for the show.
4. Negan Wins
No one said the show’s ending has to be happy. Negan is the one character that Rick and the group have not been able to best until last season’s finale. Shown behind bars talking to Rick in the opening of the trailer for Season 9, Negan is as Negan as ever. He may not have Lucille or his leather jacket on, but his mind hasn’t missed a beat. Maybe this is all a part of Negan’s plan. Folks from The Sanctuary could rise up at any time. Maybe Negan will earn his freedom and experience a redemptive arc. On Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick repeats, “If we followed Negan from the start, would we be rooting for him?” A murderer with several forced wives, probably not. Hardwick’s point and Negan’s knack for the upper hand makes a Negan ending plausible.
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5. Society Crumbles
Is it bad that we’re at a point where dark endings are believable? After nine seasons of suspense and shock, viewers hope for the best and expect the worst. It’s unclear as to how much of the population has been zombified and resources are limited. Characters raided many abandoned houses, empty stores, and countless vehicles in the name of survival. We know from Fear The Walking Dead that the epidemic was not just limited to the American South. Someday, the group might run out of new people to fight with and to work with. The world may be covered with walking dead until bugs consume their moving remains.
6. Happily Ever After
What could a happy ending look like on a show like The Walking Dead? With so much gun violence, murder, abuse, and destruction, finding light in this world may be difficult. It could be Daryl driving Carol into the sunset. We could see baby Judith grown all the way with grandchildren of her own, making family memories that the zombie apocalypse robbed her of (though, if “before” stayed that way, would she even exist?). With so much damage done, to Earth and to others, it’s hard to imagine what a bright future or even life might look like. No matter how The Walking Dead ends, happy or not, open or closed, dead or alive, hopefully it does justice for the fans who’ve stuck by the franchise for 10 years or more.