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It's an exciting time to be a Walking Dead fan. Because in addition to Fear The Walking Dead having wrapped up its third season, The Walking Dead just premiered its 100th episode, starting off Season 8 with a bang. The episode's flash forward was particularly interesting, with many wondering if Rick Grimes might actually bite the bullet one day. Actor Andrew Lincoln has stated this is entirely possible, and that the show could move forward without Rick. But who could be the leader of our group of survivors after Rick dies or retires as leader? We've got a few ideas-- here are the five most likely characters.
Michonne is one of the silent leaders on The Walking Dead. While she's not typically the one to make a Rick style speech, her actions speak for themselves. She's always remained even keeled and steadfast in her beliefs for the group and Alexandria. Deanna Monroe also told Michonne that she was meant for something bigger right before her death. If Rick were to get killed in their war against Negan, his partner in life and love could easily carry the torch and lead both the group and the Grimes family.
This one might seem like unlikely choice. Carol has spent much of the last season or so trying to get away from people. After being a stone cold badass and killing tons of people, the guilt started to eat away at the cookie lady. So she departed Alexandria on her own, and ended up being saved by Morgan and King Ezekiel. Living in a lonely house for Season 7, once she learned the truth about Glenn and Abraham's deaths things changed. She's now a soldier in the resistance against Negan, rejoining society and fighting toward something good. If she could start opening back up to people and properly balance her cut throat nature, she could be a great leader. Plus, she's one of the only characters left from the original Atlanta group.
King Ezekiel is one of the more qualified choices to lead in the wake of Rick's possible death or retirement. Mostly because he's already doing the job. He's led The Kingdom into a thriving community that can both sustain and protect itself. Plus, he's got a damn Tiger-- whose going to mess with him? Of course, King Ezekiel also comes with a fair amount of over the top theatrics. Some of the more no nonsense survivors like Rosita and Daryl might have a hard time dealing with his act, but he's got the judgement and experience to keep Alexandria together.
The Walking Dead audiences have had a complicated relationship with Carl Grimes. He spent much of the first few seasons being fairly incompetent, or just sort of being in the background hanging out with Judith. But he's gotten some better plots in the past few seasons, losing an eye in the process. In particular, his scenes with Negan are fascinating, as the villain has a strange code and reverence for Carl. There are some popular fan theories that indicate the story of The Walking Dead might actually be told through Carl's eyes (in his case eye), and that he'll be the final survivor from the group. If the story is really about Carl, then seeing him lead the group in a few years would be an obvious choice to move that narrative forward.
Maggie is probably the most popular choice for Rick's successor. Just ask Rick himself. Maggie has had a pretty remarkable journey on The Walking Dead, proving herself time and time again as a smart and deadly survivor of the apocalypse. Most recently Maggie has been given the room to really step up and lead, essentially taking The Hilltop from Gregory by inspiring the community to stand up against Negan. And in the season premiere Rick told Maggie that after the war was won, he'll be following her. With Maggie and Glenn's journey at an end, seeing her lead two communities would be a great way to given Lauren Cohan more opportunities to act her face off. And Maggie may just be popular enough to lead the series if something should happen to Rick.
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