We’ve seen a lot of characters come and go heading into Season 9 of The Walking Dead, but Andrew Lincoln’s upcoming exit might be the worst one yet. Lincoln recently confirmed that this year will be his final run as Rick Grimes on the hit zombie drama. While fans brace for the end of Rick, here are all of the ways he might be killed off this season.
Most of the characters on The Walking Dead die horrible deaths. Given Rick’s importance through the years and everything he’s survived, however, it is possible that he dies a natural death — via a stroke or heart attack. This is probably the least likely way he’ll go out, especially considering how a lot of fans want to see Rick get a flashy ending, but it is a possibility.
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Another scenario is that one of Rick’s past decisions comes back to haunt him. In Season 8, Rick decided to let Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) live despite all of the terrible things he did to the group. The decision put Rick at odds with Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
We can’t see Daryl and Maggie intentionally offing Rick, but they could indirectly cause his death by challenging his authority. This would be a most unfortunate way for Rick to die, but it could be a way to teach Maggie and Daryl some tough lessons for the road ahead.
With everything Rick has experienced throughout the years — including the death of his wife and son — we can’t rule out suicide. The show has made it pretty evident that Rick’s past haunts him, and it might drive him to end his life. This would be a fairly anti-climactic ending for the show’s lead character, so we hope that’s not the way he goes out.
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Lastly, it is possible that Negan comes back and deals Rick a final blow. Negan is currently rotting away in a basement, as we saw in the Season 9 trailer, but he could escape somehow and exact his revenge on the person that overthrew him. This would be a fitting end for Rick and offer some closing on Negan’s storyline as well.
What happens after Rick’s death, of course, is yet to be determined, but it will be exciting to see which characters take up his mantel and lead the group.
Season 9 of The Walking Dead premieres Oct. 7 on AMC.