Following the shock horror news that Andrew Lincoln will be leaving TWD after S9, a few people have already asked me this question. My answer, after I'd picked myself up off the floor and shed tears in anticipation of his departure? Of course it can.
Rick is, as someone said to me, the heart of the show, but I imagine that, as he is only to appear in six episodes of S9, it means that we will become used to others being central to more storylines. Daryl is set to take over as the lead character, which will please 99% of the the female population of the known world.... and as long as there are still a few (well, five, including Judith!) who have been there since Atlanta, Hershel's farm and the prison, it won't become a different show from the one we started out with.
|The Atlanta 3, in colour; soon to be the Atlanta 2|
Yes, it will move on and new people will be introduced ~ but life tends to do that. Most of us are naturally resistant to change, especially when we love a show, or the genre in which an author writes, or whatever, but a new phase can be just as good. Look, it'll all be okay, alright??! 😎
I was thinking, when re-watching lately, that the most effective post apocalyptic warrior of them all is not Rick, but Carol. Not only did she save everyone, twice (at the CDC in S1:6 TS19, and at Terminus in S5:1 No Sanctuary), but she always sees the bigger picture. As Rick says in later episodes about the furore when she killed Karen and David back at the prison, to try and stop the killer 'flu, 'If I was back there now, I'd have killed them myself.' Carol saw straight away about the Deanna and the Alexandrians that 'these people are children, and children like stories' ~ she didn't try to jump in and impose her will on them. She knew how to play them. Later she took time out, and when she came back she could see what had to be done about the Saviours.
We still have Michonne, and we still have Daryl, two of the most important and popular characters. We still have Maggie (never a favourite of mine, but I get that she's popular). We have Rosita, Aaron, Alden, Enid, Ezekiel, Jerry, Tara (the last 3 of whom get on my nerves, but they're no more irritating than early characters Dale and Lori!) But.... I do think that it's time for the writers to stop killing off the main cast...
...and can I do something that's probably never been done before in the history of female TV watching, and ask for some more strong male leads???? You've got rid of Glenn, T-Dog, Abraham, Shane, Hershel, Tyreese, Bob, Oscar, Noah, Merle, Carl and now Rick - let us keep some of our guys!!!
Michonne and Maggie can lead every bit as effectively as Rick did, and possibly more so, as they don't have that ego thing going on that all the alpha male guys have (Negan, The Governor, Merle, Simon, Rick, Daryl - they all have it). I don't think Carol will be a leader - she's too much of a loner, instead saving everyone from her chosen place in the shadows. More the renegade agent!
Writers, don't change too much. And keep it real. Don't start making it too Hollywood, or too sensational. Keep it chiefly about the humans vs Walkers, about the inner conflict and torment the characters go through, not just the fighting, and this show can keep going indefinitely.
But yeah.... I'm gutted about Rick!
...and how will Michonne cope???