The Walking Dead comic will end with the latest issue, #193, EW confirmed earlier today. While we won’t spoil the contents of the final chapter in Robert Kirkman‘s epic zombie saga, EW can reveal that the writer originally planned to conclude Rick Grimes’ apocalyptic odyssey much earlier, and in a very different fashion.
“When the story got to Alexandria in issue #72, things were going to go pretty much as they did,” writes Kirkman in an essay included in issue #123. “Rick and his crew were going to have trouble fitting in because of everything they’d been through. That would lead to conflict within Alexandria, and it would eventually lead to Rick taking over. The big storyline NO WAY OUT ended with Rick proclaiming that Alexandria was a place worth fighting for, that they could no longer keep moving from place to place… they had to take a stand, lay down roots and start building from there. Their nomad days were behind them.
“Well, for years… that had been planned to be… the end. Rick would make his proclamation, and the speech would end with a big close-up on Rick’s face, you’d turn the page, and Rick’s face would be the same, only it was a statue… and you’d zoom out and see the full statue with some vines growing on the bottom of it… cracks forming… and you’d realize that it was quite OLD.
“We’d keep zooming out until we saw that the statue was in Alexandria, the same place where he gave the speech, but it was different. It was old and rundown, broken windows and missing doors. We would keep zooming out until a zombie walked by, then another… and we’d see that Rick had brought them to Alexandria, given this grand speech about rebuilding civilization and SUCCEEDED to the point that they built a statue to honor him… but in the end, the dead won, society crumbled again, this time seemingly for good… and that was it.”
Kirkman eventually rejected the idea.
“That ending… in hindsight was embarrassingly bad,” he writes, “but more than that, I wasn’t ready to end this series. Not by a long shot.”
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