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Was THE WALKING DEAD’s Old Man Rick Real Or a Dream?

For months, AMC’s The Walking Dead promos have teased viewers with brief glimpses of Rick Grimes as a noticeably older man. Naturally, fans assumed that the show was providing us with a flash forward look at Rick’s life beyond the “All Out War” storyline with Negan and the Saviors. However, the seventh season premiere added a touch of ambiguity that has forced us to question whether we’ve been given a vision of the future or if Rick’s having an extended daydream. Today’s Nerdist News is peering past Rick’s bloodshot eyes for some answers!

There are potential spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead, particularly if you missed the season premiere. But we’ll keep spoilers from the Walking Dead comic book series to a minimum.

On the surface, those flash forwards seemed to give Rick and his family a much happier status quo than we’ve ever seen before on the show. That said, Rick’s beard really made him appear much older than we expected—especially when compared to Michonne, who barely showed any signs of aging at all. Plus, Rick’s daughter, Judith, seems to be on the verge of her teen years in that future scene. The way those sequences were filmed, however, gave them a dreamlike quality that makes it easier to dismiss them as a fantasy.

But in another puzzling touch, the show teased us with a close up look at Rick’s bloodshot eyes, presumably from another point in the future. It’s almost as if this Rick is in distress; maybe that means he’s thinking about the future that he believes he’ll never have? Either way, the inclusion of that moment has successfully managed to cast some doubt on the other flash forward scenes.

On the more humorous side, Judith’s growth spurt in both the flash forward and in the present timeline have already given us some very funny memes to enjoy. But TV shows and comics have always played fast and loose with children aging in front of our eyes. As for whether “Old Man Rick” is real, our best guess is that we really are looking at a flash forward. The Walking Dead comic book jumped ahead two years after “All Out War” came to a conclusion, and we fully expect a similar time jump when the show finally gets around to that point. It may even be a much larger leap forward than just two years. We believe that the show’s creative team is heading in that direction while attempting to make us doubt it at the same time. That’s very sneaky, but we like it.

What do you think about the Old Man Rick flash forwards? Share your Walking Dead theories in the comment section below!

Images: AMC

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