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Andrew Lincoln as 'shocked' as everyone else about that Old Man Rick tease

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Mar 25, 2021, 6:00 PM EDT (Updated)

One of the biggest questions surrounding Season 8 of The Walking Dead is how the show will handle the potential time jump teased by the reveal of Old Man Rick in the closing moments of the off-season trailer. Well, apparently Andrew Lincoln was as surprised as we were to see where they’re taking the show next season.

Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes in the series, told Entertainment Weekly he was surprised but excited by the narrative choice, and teased that fans will have some answers (maybe) when the season premiere drops in late October. The moment seemed to set up the time jump fans know from the comics, which took place in issue #127, pushing the narrative ahead a full two years. But, in the comics, that doesn’t take place until after the war with Negan — something that hasn’t actually happened in the comics yet.

Here’s the choice excerpt from Lincoln:

“I was shocked and kind of excited by it. My instinct was, what a great storytelling device. That was my instinct. I thought it was very interesting, and also gives us an opportunity to do something else a little ahead of the game, which I think is very, very neat. I mean, it’s a gray Rick. It’s an older Rick. So by virtue of the fact that you see, that means that it’s in the future. It will become somewhat clearer after the October premiere. Then again, it may not be. It maybe still is somewhat opaque. I think that that’s possibly all I can say on the matter.”

So what is the creative team up to over there? There are a few options, and here are some of our best guesses. It could be exactly what it seems like — maybe it’s a tease to the end of Season 8, and they’ll jump ahead after the “All Out War” story with Negan’s forces. Or perhaps they’ll frame it as a flash forward, giving us a peek at the world Rick is trying to build a few years down the line. Or it could just be a dream sequence (a la Glenn and Abraham’s dinner table return last year). Or ... something else entirely?

The Walking Dead returns Oct. 22 on AMC. Hopefully it’ll bring some answers along with Rick’s bushy beard and walking cane.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)