To read more on The Walking Dead, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now. You can buy the whole set here, or purchase the individual covers featuring the men, women, and cast now. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.
Fans were shocked when they saw an image of an older Rick with a bedside cane at the end of The Walking Dead season 8 trailer, and they weren’t the only ones. As Andrew Lincoln told us, he was “shocked and kind of excited” by the reveal.
“My instinct was, what a great storytelling device. That was my instinct,” he says. “I thought it was very interesting. And also gives us an opportunity to do something else a little ahead of the game, which I think is very, very neat.”
While Lincoln would not confirm whether that scene does, in fact, represent the time-jump from the comics, he doesn’t deny that it is some sort of look into the future. “I mean, it’s a gray Rick,” Lincoln told us. “It’s an older Rick. So by virtue of the fact that you see that means that it’s in the future. It will become somewhat clearer after the October premiere. Then again, it may not be. It maybe still is somewhat opaque. I think that that’s possibly all I can say on the matter.”
Lincoln’s comments seem to indicate that we will get our first — but not our last — look at Old Man Rick in the premiere, with more scenes and clarity to come later. Executive producer Greg Nicotero confirms to EW that, “it’s definitely not a one-time thing,” while showrunner Scott M. Gimple also says that an early look will lead to a later disclosure.
“I will say that we won’t know exactly what that’s about after the first episode,” hints Gimple. “But we will know it about halfway through the season. We won’t quite know what it’s about, and then we’ll get an answer to that about halfway through. It’s something that’s going to play out.”
Gimple does shoot down one popular fan theory, however: “I can say that that is not him waking up from the coma in the hospital,” says the showrunner about the guess that the entire series so far had all been a Rick Grimes dream. “Some people thought that, and it’s not that.”
So it sounds like while we’ll get our first taste of Old Man Rick in the season 8 premiere, the midseason finale (or around that time) could be a time when full answers will be delivered — although Nicotero may offer up a clue with his comments.
“It’s always fun to get a chance to think about where the show is going and where the characters are going,” says the EP. “And that’s a really big moment in the comic book when we sort of jump forward and realize what’s in store for the future. So to just to be able to give a little bit of a hint to that, I think it’s exciting. It shows the audience that we’re committed for this fantastic long-term storytelling and that Rick’s got his sh– together.”
For more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.
The Walking Dead portrait gallery
The Walking Dead season 8 returns in October.