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10 Ways The Walking Dead Got Worse Without Rick

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When The Walking Dead wraps its series, it will end an impressive run for the 11-season series on AMC. Based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book of the same name, The Walking Dead follows a group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse who struggle to survive against the zombies and other survivors.


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The Walking Dead was led by Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, who received praise for his performance and was among the best characters on the show. After Lincoln departed the series in the middle of Season 9, the show seemed to get worse without him.

10/10 No More Andrew Lincoln

Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus laughing

For all the ups and downs The Walking Dead has had, Lincoln was a continued shining star for the series. Fans praised his performance as Rick, and he was the multi-layered hero who led the group through the uncharted territory of the zombie apocalypse.

When Lincoln left The Walking Dead, it meant that the show was losing one of its top performers. It was clear that Lincoln gave everything he had playing Rick Grimes, and fans are looking forward to seeing him in the Rick/Michonne spin-off series in 2023.

9/10 The Ratings Fell Even Further

Promotional art for The Walking Dead with walkers in the foreground and the main cast facing them

Just before Lincoln left, The Walking Dead was already losing ground in the ratings department. However, they fell even further when he left the show for good. The series has never been able to reach the heights of its ratings in the early seasons.

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Part of this could be attributed to Rick no longer being on The Walking Dead. Perhaps Lincoln leaving also gave some fans the opportunity to leave the show with him, not caring about the story without Rick. Despite the impressive ensemble cast, it is clear that Rick was the main character.

8/10 Rick And Negan’s Scenes Were Some Of The Best

Negan and rick in the Walking Dead

When Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) entered The Walking Dead at the end of Season 6, the group had come up against its most formidable foe yet. Negan was the leader of the Saviors, who went to war with Rick’s group in Alexandria. It’s a shame that the characters will most likely never cross paths again.

Rick and Negan’s scenes together were among the series’ best. The chemistry between Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was off the charts. The characters’ mutual respect for one another, despite being bitter enemies, added a layer of depth to their relationship.

7/10 There Is No Clear Leader Without Rick

Rick Grimes pre-apocalypse in The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes was the clear-cut leader of the group. After questioning his leadership in Seasons 1 and 2 of The Walking Dead, he was solidified as the leader in Season 3. He gave a memorable speech in the Season 2 finale, saying that “this isn’t a democracy anymore,” which gave birth to the “Ricktatorship.”​​​​​

Since Rick has been absent, no character has really claimed the leadership that he once had. Some characters lead more than others, such as Daryl or Maggie Rhee, but the group opted for more of a democracy/council-style leadership without Rick Grimes.

6/10 No One Holds The Walking Dead Like Rick Did

THe Walking Dead's Rick Grimes

The Walking Dead features an ensemble cast. While Rick was the main character, there were still plenty of other characters who were instrumental to the story. However, Rick anchored the show and the buck stopped with him as he was included in nearly every storyline.

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There has really been no character who could hold the show quite like Rick Grimes. The closest to Rick would be Daryl or even Negan, but as The Walking Dead went on, it was clear that they were not the best leads and worked better in the ensemble. These characters will headline their own spin-off shows tailored to them, but Rick was easily the best protagonist for The Walking Dead.

5/10 Rick’s Kids Needed Him Growing Up

Judith and RJ in The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes had three children throughout The Walking Dead. His son Carl was killed off in Season 8, his daughter Judith was born in Season 3 (at the cost of his wife Lori), and his son RJ with Michonne was born during the time jump after he departed the show.

Judith and RJ had a great support system in Rick’s absence, but it’s clear they could have used the guidance of their father growing up. Hopefully, he gets to cross paths with his living children in his upcoming spin-off series that will reunite him with Michonne.

4/10 The Rick Movies’ Prolonged Delay Hurt The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes in The Walking DEad

When Lincoln left The Walking Dead, a surprise announcement that came with the departure was that Lincoln would star in three Rick-centric movies. Over the years, the movies were continually delayed by rewrites and the COVID-19 pandemic. Eventually, it was reworked into a Rick/Michonne spin-off, which is slated for release in 2023.

Fans were thrilled to hear that they had not seen the last of Rick Grimes, but the delays over the years made fans increasingly frustrated with the franchise. By the time Rick returns, assuming he does not make an appearance in the series finale, it will have been four years since audiences last saw the character.

3/10 Rick’s Absence Likely Messes Up The Walking Dead’s Ending

Rick and Carl in The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead always made some deviations from its source material. However, in the comics, Rick is a pivotal character from start to finish. As Lincoln left the show, quite a few storylines had to be amended to rework the narrative in his absence.

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This also means that the series finale will have to undergo a major change. Not only is Rick not there, but his son Carl was killed off as well. It remains to be seen if The Walking Dead will adapt the comics’ ending or just come up with its own fresh ending.

2/10 Andrew Lincoln Regrets It

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes

Over the years, Andrew Lincoln has stated that he does have some regret over leaving The Walking Dead. While some of his answers have been in jest, he did comment that the show was getting good after his departure.

It’s a shame that Lincoln did not stay on until the end of the series. He left to spend more time with his family in London, far from where The Walking Dead shoots in Georgia, USA. Still, fans can only imagine now how Rick would have fared in the Whisperer War and dealt with the Commonwealth alongside his group.

1/10 Everyone Missing Rick Means No One Focuses On Current Characters

Rick Grimes on the bridge in his final episode The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes may be gone, but his legacy remains intact. He has been honored by several characters and some have even promised to continue his mission. Daryl Dixon even spent a long time looking for Rick’s body in the aftermath of his disappearance.

Rick looming over the show has its pros and cons. For one, it gives the character the respect he earned over so many years. However, clinging to Rick has fans eager to see him again rather than caring about the characters who are still in The Walking Dead.

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