Viewers of The Walking Dead, in recent record-breaking numbers, have watched Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of zombie-killing survivors endure their fair share of surprises, twists, and turns in the plot over the show’s four seasons. Since Grimes awoke from his coma in the series premiere, Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman — along with a crew of showrunners and producers — have thrown hoards of the undead and power-hungry psychopaths at the show’s central character, among other more personal tragedies.
The most recent force working against Grimes and co. — a group of revenge-seeking cannibals — shows that the world of The Walking Dead very much resembles a horrific nightmare. It’s no wonder fans of the show have developed a theory along those lines: that Grimes never woke from his coma at the beginning of the series and all the events following have occurred in his head. The theory gained momentum earlier this week due to an article on Uproxx; however, Kirkman has now officially debunked the theory.
Though fans may have had precedence on their side with the coma theory — “it was all just a dream” is a common trope on television — that kind of reveal often doesn’t sit well with viewers (if the series finale of St. Elsewhere is any indication). However, there have been instances in which the trope was used effectively: the ambiguous ending of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s “Normal Again” episode allowed viewers to decide what was real and what was a dream.
Nevertheless, it’s certainly heartening to see Kirkman debunk the theory. Though he has a sense of humor about the fans’ speculation, Kirkman seems to have a specific vision for The Walking Dead — one which doesn’t include this particular trope. However, that begs the question of what Kirkman’s vision for the rest of the series could be.
It’s highly unlikely Kirkman will provide any details about the ending of The Walking Dead, but fans will continue to speculate. Though this particular theory proved to be incorrect, will Kirkman let the fans know if they guess correctly (like Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin)? We won’t know until fans posit another compelling theory — or until we see the end of The Walking Dead.
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