The Walking Dead isn’t the ratings juggernaut it once was, but this season promised a major moment that would appeal to viewers old and new. The ninth season would be Andrew Lincoln‘s last with the series, and in his highly anticipated farewell on Sunday’s episode, Rick Grimes bid adieu to his fellow survivors in Alexandria in an unexpected way. Since so many important characters have already left the series or been killed off, who will take over for Rick? And how will the zombie world expand? Today’s Nerdist News looks at what Rick’s farewell means for the future of the franchise.Join host Jessica Chobot on today’s spoiler-heavy episode, as she looks at the surprising way Andrew Lincoln left the show, and which characters have been set up to become the focal point of the series as it moves forward. Who will be the one to lead the group against new enemies? Will a Grimes still be in charge? Will that person hear a whisper of danger soon? How might Carl’s arc from the comic book’s tell us what stories will be resurrected for the show? And why is Rick Grimes story far from over?[brightcove video_id=”5857976626001″ brightcove_account_id=”3653334524001″ brightcove_player_id=”rJs2ZD8x”]Rick’s “last episode” was truly fitting for The Walking Dead, in that it wasn’t anything like what we were led to believe we were getting, nor was it really a final goodbye. That doesn’t mean we aren’t excited for young bad-ass Judith to carry on the Grimes family legacy, or for the possibility she’ll see her father again someday, on the show or in a movie–because the future of the show looks a lot like the past–Grimes family members killing a whole lot of humans and walkers.What do you think of Rick’s “goodbye?” Tell us in the comments below what you expect from the franchise moving forward.