By now, most fans have heard that their beloved comic series about the zombie apocalypse has come to a close.
After 193 issues, Robert Kirkman has called his story complete. There was likely some extra avenues he could’ve gone down, but a great series needs a definitive conclusion. Credit to Kirkman for not stringing it along if he didn’t feel confident in the story — but more credit for not going with the original ending.
Warning, spoilers ahead.
After his move to avoid war at the Commonwealth and maintain peace, complete with the ousting of their leader, the said ex-leader’s son ended up shooting Rick in a heated confrontation. The finale of the series shows an adult Carl, now with a family of his own, looking back on his father’s accomplishments and how he helped to rebuild civilization.
The world is fine again, having adapted to and overcame the undead plague. Though walkers are still a thing, they’re no longer a factor. However, Kirkman discussed his original idea to end the series, and it was far, far darker than anything we could’ve imagined.
Yes – darker than a shot of Lori falling on Judith, darker than a bat to the head knocking a man’s eye out, and darker than putting multiple heads on spikes.
The original ending would’ve shown Rick giving his impassioned speech at Alexandria, discussing how their nomad days were a thing of the past, and how they must reveal civilization. The next image would show a statue built in Rick’s honor, commemorating his heroics.
The camera would continue panning back out slowly, showing the statue was cracked and covered in vines from its age. The continued slow pan out would show Alexandria now overrun with zombies. The ending would imply Rick had convinced them to rebuild civilization, but it had ultimately fallen once more, this time permanently, we can assume.
What a downer. The worst part of an ending like this is that it would’ve shown what the characters went through was all for nothing. It would’ve been the kind of gritty, gut-punch that fans of the show would’ve been used to. But to do that in the storyline is one thing – to go out on it is quite another. Thankfully, Kirkman didn’t take that route and instead gave his series a more upbeat ending.
Rick is still gone, as are many of the originals. However, those who survived have a good life, and it is acknowledged that the efforts of Rick and the others are directly responsible for that. The show is still going, so there’s no guarantee Kirkman won’t consider throwing out his bleak conclusion there – though fans would probably react just as badly.
Despite some rumors that the series would go for hundreds of issues and end up killing off all the main cast, it seems that isn’t the case. Kirkman’s story about zombies and the people who take the world back for them are done. What will the horror mastermind come up with next?