The Walking Dead hit its 100th episode with the Season 8 premiere, but the series doesn't show signs of stopping anytime soon. Yet, fans have already come up with theories on how The Walking Dead will end.... eventually. Sure, The Independent reported that showrunner Scott Gimple is hoping for at least another 100 episodes before The Walking Dead comes to a conclusion. But since its debut in 2010, viewers have had plenty of time to think about what the final scene of their favorite show will be, and what The Walking Dead world will look like at that point.
In early November, Deadline reported that AMC CEO Josh Sapan hinted that The Walking Dead could live to span generations. (And definitely longer than many of its characters.) "The use of the word 'franchise,' we don't take lightly. It's not a sloppy or casual word," Sapan said. "We've studied the best. Some have been around 30, 40, 50 years. We have a chance for a lot of life in the franchise."
If the AMC series miraculously goes on for another 50 years, it'll certainly outlive some of these theorizing fans. But there are only so many places a story can go after the zombie apocalypse. So some of the internet's prevailing finale theories could possibly really happen, whether the show ends in five years or 50.
Although you're probably more concerned about how Season 8 will end right now, here are some theories about how the entire series could wrap up:
The New Generation Is Immune
The theory that babies born after the zombie apocalypse are immune to the zombie virus has been around for seasons. Yet, with the Old Man Rick flash forwards and the theory that Judith is really Gracie in the future, this idea is picking up steam. In order for anyone to discover that the new generation is immune, one of these children would have to die. So perhaps Judith is the first child of the new generation that dies and then doesn't turn into a zombie. It would be devastating, but at least her death would lead to an endgame discovery.
The Zombies Will Go Extinct
The Film Theorists proposed that the zombies will actually go extinct due to the rate of their decay. But even if the zombies go away, the humans will still have to deal with the destruction they caused.
The Zombies Become Foot Soldiers
The idea that the zombie may evolve or change isn't that mind-blowing. But WhatCulture elevated this idea in its roundup of theories. Although it's a long shot, the fifth theory in the above video discusses the possibility of zombies becoming a weaponized hive mind. As in, one person or group could control the zombies and make them their foot soldiers. If that ever happened, it sure would seem like a good time to end the show.
Everyone Dies But Rick
Even if you don't believe the above AlltimeMovies theory that Rick is immortal or fan theories that Rick is immune to the zombie virus, you can still buy into the idea that Rick may be the last human standing at the end of The Walking Dead. If any character can pull off an I Am Legend-esque survival, it's Rick.
The flip side of the Rick as the lone survivor theory is that The Walking Dead will end when Rick turns. Yes, he's the ultimate badass and there are elements of sci-fi in the series. But Rick is not superhuman. He's just a man whose luck finally runs out.
The Series Goes On Without Rick
YouTube user Trevschan2 cited how comics creator Robert Kirkman said "Rick will not survive to the end" and interpreted that to mean that the show will go on without its leader. This theory doesn't explicitly state how the show will end if it goes this direction, but it would mean a massive shift. Here's hoping this one isn't true since a life in the zombie apocalypse without Rick Grimes doesn't seem worth living.
Carl Is Telling The Story From The Future
A newish theory from MOVIEidol is that the end of The Walking Dead will have Carl telling his story in the future, meaning the future is more about Old Man Carl than Old Man Rick. Even if Rick is dead in this scenario, it's still a slightly optimistic ending since it means that Carl will have survived to tell his family's tale.
As the show goes on, it will provide more fodder for fans speculating on how The Walking Dead could end. But for now, buckle up, because it's bound to be an extremely long ride until the ultimate finale.