The Walking Dead Season 8: Old Man Rick Explained

What's the truth behind that beard?

The Walking Dead Old Man Rick

Ever since The Walking Dead's Season 8 trailer dropped last summer, fans have been speculating about what exactly the future of an aged, bearded Rick Grimes means.

The Season 8 premiere doubled down on that, showing us more of that potential timeline where Rick is injured and yet happier than ever, living in peace with Michonne, Carl, and Judith. Was this something that was definitely going to happen? A possible outcome depending on Rick's choices in the war against Negan?

The show returned from its mid-season hiatus and, in a BIG episode that also answered the question of what happens to Carl, we got the reveal about those supposed flashfoward.

The Walking Dead Carl dream
Gene Page/AMC

It was all a dream.

Yep, The Walking Dead decided to deploy one of the oldest tricks in the storytelling book to solve this particular riddle, with the ideal future being a dream of Carl's, which he relays to his father in Honor. It's his vision of what the world could be like if his father - and everyone else - stopped with all the killing and instead worked together.

"You can't see yet, how it could be. But I have. Everybody living, helping everybody else live. That's how it could be."

That doesn't just extend to the Alexandrians, but even Negan, with the leader of the Saviours now a friendly, helpful member of society rather than a grinning murderer. Rick, for his part, promises to make it real.

The Walking Dead Negan
Gene Page/AMC

Whether we'll actually see it become reality in the show is another matter, but it's a massive sign that Rick isn't going to be killing Negan this season. There's also the matter of that other vision of Rick, with him crying under the stained glass window. It's also revisited this week, but there's no clear answer as to what it means. With Old Man Rick and Carl's fate both resolved, it's one of the biggest mysteries that show currently has.

What do you think of the Old Man Rick reveal? Share your thoughts down in the comments.

Read Next: The Walking Dead: 7 Reasons Why Carl's Death Was A HUGE Mistake

TV Editor
TV Editor

NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far. A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.