Warning – this blog will contain spoilers for The Walking Dead TV show and comic series.
Fans can dream, they can speculate, and they can hope – this time, though, there may just be some substance to their predictions.
When Rick Grimes left the Walking Dead in season 9, it was a massive blow to the series. It hit at the worst possible time, too.
The show was just in the process of regaining some momentum after the drawn-out war arc turned many fans off. With Carl already gone, losing Rick seemed like the worst-case scenario. Luckily, he wasn’t dead – just severely injured and being flown off to an area the showrunners didn’t explain yet.
However, fans of the comic series will be familiar with the introduction of the New World Order around this time. Jadis, or Anne, seemed to be in communication with these people – it could explain her ability to obtain food (and that cool mini-home) despite living in a dump.
She even hinted to Gabriel that they could run off to a “place like he couldn’t imagine.” If Rick was flown off to this area, it stands to reason he’d do anything in his power to get back in touch with his friends. Fans have already been promised a movie detailing what happened to him during this time. However, since there has been a massive time skip since his departure, it would make sense to reintroduce him.
Episode 15 saw Eugene and Rosita working on a radio, using parts that the former acquired in the trade fair. The New World Order is discovered in the comics when Eugene makes contact with one of their members via a radio.
This fan theory says Eugene will be trying to contact people with his newfound hardware, and in the episode’s closing moments he will hear the familiar raspy twang of the show’s longtime leading man. It’s not guaranteed – but it would make sense, and it would be a delight for fans.
Everything lines up – the time, the motive, and of course, the demand for Rick to return. Even though Andrew Lincoln said he wanted some time off to spend with his family, he likely makes a ridiculous payday from the show, especially after being its main protagonist for so long. Why wouldn’t he want to come back?
Though the characters in the show don’t know Rick survived, we know Daryl said he’d never stopped looking – and he never would. Their epic bromance was so strong, Daryl even moved out into the wilderness for a while because he spent more time looking for Rick than doing anything else.
Rick was always the character who charted new territory. He was the first to find Herschel’s farm, the one who discovered the prison, and the leader in taking the fight to the Saviors’ outpost – though that last one didn’t go so well.
It would only be logical if he were the first (along with Anne) to make it to the show’s next prominent location.