We don’t know when AMC will end The Walking Dead, which just wrapped up its seventh season. There have been reports that it could run for 12 seasons. Given the faltering ratings and unkind season 7A reviews, however, 12 seasons may be a stretch. Robert Kirkman is on record, after all, saying that the comic will outlast the TV series, and that the ending to the TV series may be completely different than the one for the comics.
What we do know is this: Robert Kirkman has a hopeful end in mind for the series. The way he sees it, The Walking Dead is “about humanity overcoming this insurmountable apocalyptic situation.”
Michael Rooker, who played Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead, may have the perfect hopeful ending in mind. Speaking to the audience at Walter Stalker Con this weekend, Dixon offered his theory about how the show should end, and it is perfect.
“A railroad track … going on forever, into the setting sun. From behind camera, a single individual walks down the middle of the track … into the setting sun. You realize that individual is Carl … all grown-up, a man of his own. No one else is with him—just him. And as he does his voiceover, you realize that all the seasons that you’ve seen is him reliving his past. So everyone on the show is dead. He’s the only survivor, and he’s on his own and walks off into the sunset. And that’s the end of the show.”
I can absolutely see that ending, though I’d like to think that the post-credits scene for The Walking Dead series finale would see Carl sitting on the railroad tracks, quietly contemplating his future while eating a giant bucket of pudding.
But don’t expect the ending anytime soon. Even with faltering ratings, The Walking Dead is still the top-rated drama on cable, and if ratings fall too much, AMC is not shy about switching up showrunners. AMC needs the series to launch other new shows, plus they still haven’t gotten to The Walking Dead: SVU spin-off, and until they’ve done that, we know the franchise isn’t completely dead.