Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead series finale.
An alternate ending has been revealed for The Walking Dead series finale, one which would have made the future of the franchise practically impossible. After 12 years, The Walking Dead came to an end on November 20, 2022, wrapping up the stories of most of the main survivor group while sending others onto spinoffs that include The Walking Dead: Dead City, Daryl Dixon, and a series focused on Rick and Michonne. While The Walking Dead‘s series finale, “Rest in Peace,” met with a mixed response, the ending helped facilitate those spinoffs, whereas the original alternate ending would have ruined the perfect setup.
In The Walking Dead‘s final moments, Daryl Dixon leaves for his Walking Dead spinoff, Maggie and Negan share some tender moments, and Rick and Michonne make their long-awaited returns. These scenes set up AMC’s forthcoming spinoffs perfectly, and as a lone Judith and RJ look out across the Commonwealth fields stating “we are the ones who live,” the fates of The Walking Dead‘s main communities are left tantalizingly open. The Walking Dead‘s alternate ending would have seen a very different future for Judith and RJ, and this version fails to set up the franchise’s future beyond season 11 by opting for a cheesy, more conclusive ending.
The Walking Dead’s Alternate Ending Explained
The Walking Dead‘s alternate ending would have taken viewers back to the famous Atlanta highway Rick Grimes rode a horse down in pilot episode “Days Gone Bye.” According to Greg Nicotero, the alternate ending for The Walking Dead‘s series finale featured an ethanol-modified van with young adults inside, and these survivors would eventually be revealed as the grown-up kids of The Walking Dead‘s core survivors, led by Judith and RJ. Now in their late teens or early 20s, the adult kids are continuing the legacy of their parents by traveling out and scouting for new people to join their communities.
The Walking Dead‘s alternate ending would have seen RJ speak over the radio and refer to himself as Rick Grimes, calling back to a line Rick spoke in the pilot, “If you can hear me, answer back. This is Rick Grimes.“ The scene would then close with the voice of another survivor coming over the radio with a simple “hello?” While this ending would have featured more callbacks to The Walking Dead episode 1, and would also have given viewers insight into the future of the zombie apocalypse, there are problems with how this scene would have affected the upcoming Walking Dead spinoffs and the ending of the series as a whole.
The Walking Dead’s Alternate Ending Would Have Ruined The Series Finale
The Walking Dead season 11 has proven predictably divisive among audiences, with the season criticized for feeling rushed and dropping too many plot lines in order to reach the ending faster. Nevertheless, the Scooby Doo-style alternate ending would have done The Walking Dead series finale no favors, and might have invited even more backlash. Instead, Judith and RJ looking out into the distance shows the uncertainty for these characters in The Walking Dead‘s future, while the lack of a massive time jump creates the potential for spinoffs, crossovers, and a potential The Walking Dead season 12.