The series finale of The Walking Dead covered all the bases. It delivered a well-paced and satisfying ending, gave each character a chance to shine, and alluding all the spinoffs on the way. One moment in particular that made fans rejoice was the triumphant return of fan favorite characters Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira).
The return of Rick and Michonne feels less like a final farewell and more like setting up a future storyline; the duo will feature in a six-episode spinoff next year. In the finale, we see Rick Grimes alone and seemingly on the run from the Civic Republic Military. He wields a stick, the same weapon that Silas used in The Walking Dead: World Beyond. We’re very much meeting Rick in the middle of his story; there’s still a lot we don’t know.
Given how important Rick and Michonne are to the franchise, it would be pretty crazy to end the show without them. The show started with Rick, while Michonne quickly became a central character after her introduction in the season 2 finale. According to showrunner Angela Kang, we needn’t ever have worried. Bringing them back was always part of the masterplan.
It was a “very, very, very long process” to get Rick and Michonne to return to The Walking Dead
“From the first pitch I did for the ending of the series, I said to the network and the producers, ‘Hey, I really feel in my heart of hearts that the show is not going to feel totally complete unless we have Rick and Michonne back. I know that there are all these universe implications where I don’t have total control. But I’m putting it out there that this is the ideal version,” Kang told Entertainment Weekly.
From there, it was a very, very, very long process to actually lock it all up, because there were all these moving pieces in the universe, too. So it took a long time and a lot of conversations and there were business aspects that needed to be worked out. But from that point we were like, ‘Well, what is this piece and what does it feel like?’
I think they handled the return really well. It simply wouldn’t be a Walking Dead finale without Rick or Michonne, but their scenes didn’t outshine the other people from the cast. “Andy and Danai really wanted to have an idea of what it might be that they were signing onto,” Kang said. “It was really important to them that they didn’t feel like they overshadowed what the current cast was doing. They didn’t want it to be the very final piece of the show.”
Norman Reedus wants Rick and Daryl to reunite
Not only were the fans desperate to see Rick Grimes return to action, but the cast members wanted it, too. In fact, Norman Reedus (Daryl) is fighting to get Rick and Daryl to reunite.
“Honestly, I really do think that some of the stuff came from some suggestions and ideas from Norman,” director Greg Nicotero revealed. “Because there was one point when Norman was talking about how cool it would be for Rick Grimes and Daryl to reunite in some capacity. And I thought, ‘Oh, that’s a really great idea. I would’ve watched that show.’ That was a year-and-a-half ago. And then the conversation started.”
Fast forward to today, and Rick Grimes is officially back in the fold. However, he’s no closer to reuniting with Daryl. They’re going to be further apart than ever after Daryl sails away to France in his upcoming spinoff.
The Walking Dead series finale is now airing on AMC and AMC+. The show might be over, but the franchise will live on through a slate of spinoffs. Three new spinoff shows — Dead City, the Daryl Dixon show, and the Rick and Michonne show — will premiere next year. There are exciting times ahead!
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