The Walking Dead fans are feeling all the feels because tonight will (presumably) be Rick Grimes’ final episode as the show moves forward with a fresh direction. It’s pretty upsetting because Rick has undoubtedly been the apocalypse leader and overall centerpiece of this show since its 2010 debut. Faithful viewers have followed his incredible journey from waking up out of a coma in Atlanta to his current struggles with building a new world in Alexandria. There are a lot of TV fans who are not familiar with the show’s comic source material and they may be wondering what happens to Rick in the comics? Rick may be hanging up his cowboy boots in the show, but he is still alive in the ongoing comic series.
Rick’s upcoming death (or departure) certainly isn’t the first time that the show has deviated from the comic storylines. For example, Carol Peletier was a much younger and emotionally unstable character in the comics who died after she willingly let a walker to tear at her throat back during the prison days. But, TV Carol is still alive and has gone on an incredible arc from being a meek, abused housewife to a knife-wielding warrior.
Rick’s BFF Daryl Dixon doesn’t exist in the comics at all and he was actually in a long-term relationship with Andrea, who was killed off in the Season 3 finale of the TV show.
Comic Rick obviously survived the All-Out War arc, which happened back in 2014, and made the choice to keep Negan alive. At this point, Rick certainly looked different than he did on the TV show with a missing hand from his fight with the Governor. The Walking Dead comics also had a time jump following the war to kick off the New Beginning arc. But, the current issues between Rick, Daryl, and Maggie as well as the troubles with the Sanctuary weren't a problem in the comics.
Civilization was rebuilt and everyone was doing fine, including the Sanctuary community with Dwight as its leader. This was also the time when Rick met Magna and her crew, who will be introduced later this season per ScreenRant.
The communities eventually run into the next enemy known as the Whisperers, a nomadic and dangerous primitive group who believe in living with no rules amongst the walkers. This leads to a lengthy Whisperer arc which, according to TV Guide, is expected to play out in some capacity on the TV series.
Of course, things will be very different because Rick and Carl, who played a key role during this arc, will not be a part of the action. It’s a sad thought for fans who love the comics and TV show, but it will be interesting to see how they re-imagine this war for the TV series.
In recent comics, Rick has just arrived at the Commonwealth, a large Ohio community that almost mirrors pre-apocalypse life with a class system, sports, concerts, and lots of resources. This community has yet to make an official appearance on the show, but Jadis and her strange connection to a “far away” place with a helicopter could be a hint at their upcoming introduction.
The Commonwealth could also be Georgie’s group who have been keeping on contact with Maggie for several years. The Hilltop has a windmill that says Commonwealth too, so that’s a pretty good sign that this community is on the way.
Sadly, Rick won’t be around to lead his group against the Whisperers but perhaps he will survive and get a first-class helicopter ride to the Commonwealth. It’s a stretch, but fans are holding out hope that Rick’s story won’t end tragically tonight. If it does end with his death, there’s always the comforting thought of Rick Grimes still slaying walkers in the comic series.