Get a glimpse of the original, cut ending to The Walking Dead

For over a decade, fans of The Walking Dead debated over how the show would end. Would Rick Grimes wake up in the hospital in Atlanta and realize it was all a dream? Would there finally be a cure for the zombie virus? Thankfully, neither of these things happened. Instead, the series ended with a jump forward in time to find our group living in harmony.

By all accounts, the series finale, “Rest in Peace,” went down well with fans. It brought AMC+ its heaviest day of traffic ever. It was a pretty safe way to end the show, and while it felt like it bookended the series, it also set up the spinoff shows to come. For instance, we know that Daryl ends up in France and that Maggie and Negan head to New York in Dead City. And we got hints as to the whereabouts of Rick Grimes and Michonne, who will both return for their own spinoff series next year.

As good as it was, the finale could’ve pushed the boundaries a little further. In fact, the show’s cinematographer, Duane Charles Manwiller, posted a behind-the-scenes photo on his Instagram page of a shot that didn’t make the final cut. It shows older versions of RJ (Roland Buck III), Coco (Sahara Ale), Gracie (Tess Cline), Judith (Britt Baron), and Ezra (Seoum Tylor Aun) driving into Atlanta — down the iconic Freedom Parkway that Rick rode down back in the series premiere — in search of survivors to offer refuge. Take a look:

“First off I’m blown away how many people actually already knew about the original ending. I loved how the show ended but I must say shooting this flash forward was pretty cool,” Manwiller wrote. “I hope we’ll get to see that scene someday.”

Why was The Walking Dead flash-forward scene deleted? 

The series finale had a lot of story to squeeze in. It had to conclude the war against the Commonwealth and fit in a time jump to tie up the show, as well as catch us up with Michonne and Rick. The episode ran longer than normal, but that still wasn’t enough. Something had to be sacrificed, and this final, bigger time jump scene didn’t quite fit.

“There was a scene that we had shot, but when it was decided to put the coda in we felt like it would conflict with the Rick and Michonne bit. So we took it out,” director Greg Nicotero told Insider.

Perhaps AMC will release it as a bonus feature somewhere. Or maybe they’ll randomly put it online someday. The fact that it’s there sitting on a hard drive somewhere is pretty annoying.

Possibly someday in the future, the show will continue with the next generation of survivors… or maybe I’m just being hopeful. AMC is developing a whole lot of spinoffs; the franchise isn’t ending anytime soon.

All 11 seasons of The Walking Dead are now streaming on AMC+. Our next adventure is Dead City, which is currently set for an April 2023 release.

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