Unlike fellow genre show Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead doesn't generate a massive amount of endgame theories. This is probably because there is no end in sight for either the comic books or the AMC show. Still, if you have ever wondered what may become of Rick Grimes and his friends, this fan theory on how The Walking Dead will end makes so much sense it's scary.
The in depth theory, proposed by YouTube user MOVIEidol and shared by Digital Spy, is a well thought out, plausible, and moving way for the story to wrap up. The theory suggests the final scene of the series will show Rick's death before cutting to some time in the distant future where an old man version of Carl is revealed to be telling the story to a group of survivors. Basically, this means all of the events of the show are actually a flashback, and Carl is the original group's last remaining survivor. It is up to him to tell the story and make sure his father's memory lives on.
Now, the big problem with this idea is how could Carl know so much about events he didn't witness, like his father waking up from a coma, or anything happening at Ezekiel's camp? The answer is simple: Carl is, to some degree, an unreliable narrator. Like any folklorist, he would be taking liberties with the truth, and weaving together things he was told with events he actually witnessed.
The creator of the theory backs up his idea with some pretty solid evidence. He notes scenes involving Carl — like his conversation with Negan in "Sing Me a Song" — are often among the most detailed in the series. This could be because Carl remembers them vividly. If Carl is the true narrator, that would also explain the mythic qualities of Rick, who is often portrayed as the archetypal hero. A wizened Carl would no doubt look back on his father as a larger than life cowboy fighting for humanity at the dawn of the apocalypse.
He might even feel a sense of duty to tell Rick's story. Right now, all of the characters remember what the world was like before the apocalypse. In the future, there will be precious few people who can share the history surrounding the time the world descended into chaos. For a certain area of the world, Rick would be something of a mythical figure who faced off against monsters like The Governor and Negan. Who better to tell his story than his own son?
From a narrative standpoint, Carl as the final survivor is so poetic it almost has to happen. After all, Carl is coming of age in a time when humanity is crumbling around him. His presence has always been a reminder of what the world lost when the walkers came — its innocence.
To end the series by revealing Rick's fight was not in vain would be incredibly meaningful. Having Carl survive and share his stories with a younger generation, like Judith's, who know no other world than one where walkers exist, would ultimately be triumphant. Rick just wants to hold on to some small spark of hope for his son, and a future where Carl is still alive and fighting would mean Rick won.
The Walking Dead is a bleak show. It is not hard to imagine a walker feeding frenzy ending the whole shebang, but the old man Carl theory feels true to its overall message that even when the world is falling apart, there is hope. It's going to be a long time before Rick and company sign off, but when they do, this fan theory would not be a bad way to say goodbye to the series.