It doesn't seem like The Walking Dead will be ending any time soon. Despite a decrease in viewership and some critical concerns, it's still a hugely popular series with a dedicated fanbase. The cast and crew show little interest in stopping, and there are enough storylines from the comics to keep it running for years. But it's got to end sometime, right? These theories about how The Walking Dead will end try to figure out how that final finale will go, when the time comes.
The TV show still hasn't caught up with the comics, though it's getting closer and closer as the seasons go on. However, the fact that the comics are ongoing makes it difficult to predict how the show will end when it inevitably does. Most adaptations of existing source material have an endpoint to work towards, but with both versions of The Walking Dead, there's only a question mark. There's even a chance the comics could continue past the show, depending on how it all shakes out.
Though so much is uncertain about the show's future, fans have done their best to try and figure it out. Some theories might be more plausible than others, but all seek to find those unknown answers.
And They All Lived Happily Ever After
Reddit user fifthchevron wants to see a happier finale after all the suffering the series has put its characters and viewers through. Instead of a bloodbath, they hope the show will end with a grown-up Judith living quietly and happily by the beach, possessing many treasured heirlooms of characters long dead to keep their memories alive. Aww, that will never happen.
The Student Becomes The Master
Redditor Mendeher000 is interested in the opposite with their theory. They propose an end in which Rick has become a villain instead of a hero and Carl is forced to take his own father down to keep the peace. It would certainly be a storyline that kept emotions running high.
A cure to the zombie virus seems impossible, but Reddit user mccall11 is hopeful that the characters could eventually become immune to it. "It would be a satisfying ending for me if Judith got bit and then in the final few minutes of the series we see that it healed," they wrote. "That would leave the audience knowing that there is a future for civilization without actually going into rebuilding it."
The Next In Charge
Redditor dynamicstability speculates that The Walking Dead could set up the next generation by showing an adult Carl taking charge of his own merry band of survivors. The spinoff possibilities could keep this franchise going until the end of time.
Old Man Carl
Another common theory took the idea of Carl the Leader even farther. Two different users on Reddit, Thane_Caide and TheOneFromBeyond_, both put forth similar ideas for the final episode. It would feature a much older Carl telling the story of the series to someone younger, perhaps Judith or one of his grandchildren. However, the theories diverge there. Thane_Caide speculates that Carl and Judith will be the only ones left alive, but TheOneFromBeyond_ is much more positive: the virus is over, and society is on its way back.
Humanity Will Triumph
Though some may expect a dark and hopeless ending that sees nearly every character killed, comic creator Robert Kirkman has more hope than anyone. While on the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, he said
I do hope that The Walking Dead goes on long enough that when it ends, they're like, 'Good thing we took care of those zombies.' [...] I see the story from beginning to end, over many, many years, and so I think it's a very hopeful story about humanity overcoming this insurmountable apocalyptic situation. It's just going to take them a long time to do it.
It may be vague about the details, but at least it's a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Chosen One
Andrew Lincoln himself has a theory about how the show could end. At the PaleyFest in Los Angeles, he proposed that Rick get embroiled in a zombie fight in which he's ultimately bitten. "Anyway, I deal with that, and I'm dying on my own," he said. "Just waiting to die. I wait and I patch up and a day passes. I patch myself up, I don't die. The final shot is, 'Holy sh*t! Maybe I'm the cure!'"
Those are only a few possibilities for the ultimate finale of The Walking Dead. There are countless different ways the series could finish up, but one thing is certain: it will definitely be heartbreaking for diehard fans sad to see the end.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.