In a twist of events worthy of the zombie apocalypse itself, it was announced today that tomorrow's issue of The Walking Dead, the comic title that has run for almost 200 issues, kicked off two television shows, and spawned a million memes, will be its last. Issue #193 will put the katana right through the head of the title, and the dead shall walk no more. What will the final issue include? We don't know right now, but we do know a little bit about what it was originally intended to include.
Series creator Robert Kirkman has added a special letter to the final issue, which details how he originally planned to end the series. IGN has posted a bit of the letter, where Kirkman writes about an ending that he came up with around Issue #72. Kirkman states that this ending has been abandoned, but still, we're going to throw up the following spoiler warning, because we care:
**SPOILER WARNING: From this point forward, there are possible spoilers for the final issue of The Walking Dead comic. There also may not be, we don't know yet. Anything is possible. If you want to avoid any and all chances of being smashed in the head with a barbed-wire-wrapped spoiler bat, then look away now.**
Kirkman writes: "The big storyline NO WAY OUT ended with Rick proclaiming that Alexandria was a place worth fighting for, that they could no longer keep moving from place to place ... they had to take a stand, lay down roots and start building from there. Their nomad days were behind them."
As far as Kirkman was concerned, that was the planned end point for many years. "Rick would make his proclamation, and the speech would end with a big close-up on Rick’s face, you’d turn the page, and Rick’s face would be the same, only it was a statue ..." he writes, adding, "... and you’d zoom out and see the full statue with some vines growing on the bottom of it ... cracks forming ... and you’d realize that it was quite OLD."
Kirkman goes on, and the ending gets bleaker as he continues, "We’d keep zooming out until we saw that the statue was in Alexandria, the same place where he gave the speech, but it was different. It was old and rundown, broken windows and missing doors. We would keep zooming out until a zombie walked by, then another ... and we’d see that Rick had brought them to Alexandria, given this grand speech about rebuilding civilization and SUCCEEDED to the point that they built a statue to honor him ... but in the end, the dead won, society crumbled again, this time seemingly for good ... and that was it."
Well ... that's ... um ... depressing as hell? CORRRAALLLL!!!!
We can see why Kirkman and company abandoned this ending, as not only is it a complete and utter downer (even for this title), but it also renders almost every single event in the entire story completely pointless. If the dead end up winning, why does Negan's psyche and redemption matter? It wouldn't matter, not even a little bit.
The fact that Kirkman is including this version of the ending in tomorrow's book has us thinking that a different ending will take place, but who knows? Stranger things have happened in the world of The Walking Dead... the very abrupt ending of the comic itself included.
The final issue of The Walking Dead will be out tomorrow, courtesy of Image Comics.