The Walking Dead on AMC has had plenty of twists and turns over the years, but its decision with main character Rick Grimes felt more or less like kicking the can down the road. But not so in the comics. The Walking Dead #192 settled the character's fate without any beating around the bush, which is why it was important for series creator Robert Kirkman to explain what exactly was going through his head when he finished his main character’s arc.
**Warning: Major spoilers about The Walking Dead #191 and 192 lie ahead.**
Speaking to the New York Times, Kirkman discussed why he — after all these years — had Rick unceremoniously shot to death by a political rival’s son: Sebastian Milton, the son of governor Pamela Milton, is Rick’s murderer. And even if the character is new, the idea wasn’t. “It’s something I’ve had planned for a long time,” Kirkman said.
“It’s a weird feeling for me because it’s been so inevitable. I’ve kind of been dealing with it, preparing myself for it emotionally for years. It’s still upsetting. I haven’t built to a character death for as long as I have with Rick.” That’s because he was always planned to be a finite protagonist, not someone that would “survive to the end from the very beginning.”
With the introduction of the Commonwealth and the various survivor communities prevalent in The Walking Dead, the comic became a different kind of survival story — one focused on the obstacles of rebuilding. As Rick and his group worked to push their own ideology for a community, Kirkman knew “that Rick would essentially be giving his life to preserve this civilization.” The fallout from Rick’s death makes it seem that he will become a political martyr for this community, which could certainly help preserve his group’s way of life down the line.
As for why the death takes place in #192 rather than the seemingly more ceremonious #200, well, that’s just for practical reasons. “No. 192 is the end of a compendium,” Kirkman explains. “So it seems like an arbitrary number, but it really isn’t.”
The Walking Dead comic continues its slow crawl towards issue #200 — without needing Rick to move it along.