[Potential spoilers for The Walking Dead comics and TV show below]
That’s how The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman began his letter to readers in Issue #167 of the comic book series, which came out today. He was apologizing for the death of a long-time character, someone who was introduced in Issue #2, someone who was killed off long ago on the television show, someone who had a romantic relationship with Rick Grimes.
“I’m sorry to my fans and to myself,” Kirkman wrote, “and to Andrea.” After being bitten by a walker while protecting Eugene (what a troublemaker) a few issues ago, Andrea Grimes is killed by Rick with a knife after she reanimates. “I had plenty of time to change my mind,” Kirkman continued. “I had plenty of time to just not do it. I am in control of this story after all. But honestly, sometimes it feels like I’m not. This was one of those times… I don’t want this. I want Andrea to live. I want to write more stories with her. I want to see her and Rick grow old together, watching Carl grow up and have kids of his own. I want that kind of happiness for these characters. And yet, here we are.”
There are two big differences between Andrea in the comics and Andrea on the TV show: she survived much longer in the former than the latter (she was killed in season three’s “Welcome to the Tombs”), and she and Rick never hooked up. It was more than just a hook-up in the comics, too — they genuinely loved each other. “I can’t go on… not without you,” Rick pleads in the new issue, while watching Andrea fade away. “I’m scared. I’m tired. I’m weak. I can’t do this anymore.” That sounds very similar to something TV show Rick told Michonne (who, for what it’s worth, is also still alive in the comics) last season.
Which begs the question, should we be scared for Michonne?
The TV show is on a different path than Kirkman’s comics, but it’s still using the same map. As noted by ComicBook.com, Michonne is “filling in as the strong girlfriend of Rick Grimes. She has quickly become a mother figure for Carl. She has adopted the rifle skills Andrea has in the books and even portrayed the fake-out death where readers and character both thought [she] fell from a ledge after fighting a Savior in the season seven finale.” It wouldn’t be a surprise if showrunner Scott Gimple simply replaced Andrea with Michonne (probably around season 10 or 11, when things will start to get really interesting). There aren’t many OG characters, or at least long-time characters that would emotionally devastate Rick, left to kill.
Is it even The Walking Dead if Rick Grimes isn’t miserable?