'The Walking Dead' Showrunner Calls Season 9 a Series Finale for Rick Grimes

The Walking Dead Season 9 was recently referred to as a "series finale" for Rick Grimes (and actor Andrew Lincoln) in recent interviews with showrunner Angela Kang. While we still don't have the full details on Rick's last moments in the show, Kang's comments, transcribed by Screen Rant, make his situation sound pretty final. Kang even compares Rick's end to a major death from the source comic series.

Major SPOILERS for old issues of The Walking Dead Comics follow this break.

"The closest analog we can think of, in terms of impact, of the characters that left in the comic, was when Andrea died in the comic. That was sort of this huge momentous death of a very, very long-running character arc. And so, we were just looking for inspiration in that. Like, how do you create a story that feels like it has its own arc? While also, at the same time, creating the seeds for the episodes that follow, since, obviously, it's not the end of the series - and there's so much more story to tell."

While Kang's description seems innocuous at face value, her wording doesn't necessarily offer much daylight with regard to the possibility of Lincoln returning to The Walking Dead in the future. Fans have speculated that Rick might exit the show via helicopter on death's doorstep, but Kang's use of the word "finale" makes this ordeal sound permanent. Speaking the language of The Walking Dead, Grimes could very well become walker meat if his own people don't kill him first.

Rick Grimes 9x1 porch
If recent comments from 'The Walking Dead' showrunners are any indication, Rick Grimes isn't going to know what's coming till it's all over. Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

These comments arrive days after Entertainment Weekly published a lengthy article featuring personal statements from 24 Walking Dead cast members about Lincoln's contribution to the show. The intense outpouring of support from his colleagues served as another hint toward Rick's permanent demise, and Kang's comments further support that assumption.

In the days leading up to the premiere, it almost seems as if AMC is preparing fans for Rick's death. This could be a means of controlling shock value for what's likely to be a horrific sequence of events, or it just might be a major misdirect on behalf of producers. It seems almost certain Rick won't make it out alive, but we still don't how those events play out.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC Oct. 7.

What are your thoughts on Angela Kang calling Season 9 a "series finale" for Andrew Lincoln? Is there any possible scenario where Rick Grimes doesn't die? Tell us in the comments section!