Details About the Unused Alternate Ending


RJ getting his dad's hat.

Rick and Michonne’s son had a bigger part to play in another ending.
Image: AMC

Did you hear? The Walking Dead, one of our generation’s defining television shows, ended this past weekend. Besides wrapping up as many core stories as it could, the big reveal was something our own Rob Bricken described as “all that anyone still watching the show wanted to see.” However, the ending you saw was not always a certainty. As a result, an alternate, more comic book-inspired ending was filmed, before being cut in favor of what aired this past weekend.

Image for article titled The Walking Dead Finale Originally Had a Different Ending

So, as you probably know or don’t care about being spoiled if you’re still reading, The Walking Dead’s big ending was the return of both Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). Not together, but, in very mysterious individual circumstances which will be explained in the Rick and Michonne TV show. However, there was no guarantee AMC could get those two actors back— so, as a cover, the filmmakers shot a different ending that didn’t make sense with the crowd-pleasing Rick and Michonne ending (which was apparently shot a few months ago).

What was that ending? Well, according to Insider, it would have jumped forward several years and picked up with Judith and Rick Jr. as adults, in the same place outside Atlanta where we first saw papa Rick in the pilot. Here’s the breakdown.

After Daryl rode off, we cut forward to the Freedom Parkway, outside Atlanta — where the iconic shot of Rick rode down from the pilot. See an ethanol-modified van, with a young woman and man in the front seats (in their twenties). And through the scene, we come to realize it’s adult RJ and Judith. Other adult versions of the kids are in the back — Coco, Gracie, etc. They’re out there, looking to escort any survivors back to their communities. Continuing the legacy of their parents. As RJ speaks over the radio, he finishes with: “If you can hear me, answer back. This is Rick Grimes.” (Which, of course, is his name — and the line Rick said in the pilot.) Then we end with the voice of a survivor answering back: “…Hello?”

That ending was more in line with how Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman chose to end his comic book series in addition to being a mirror on the first episode. But, once Lincoln and Gurira came back, the grown-up kids ending didn’t quite fit and was cut. Plus, seeing new actors in those roles was thought to create a disconnect.

Do you think that was the right choice? Was it more important to show the fan-favorite characters or to have a more cohesive, emotional beat? Let us know what you think below.


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