WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead #193 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Rus Wooton and Cliff Rathburn, on sale now.
With The Walking Dead #193, the Image Comics series that inspired a multimedia empire concluded on a polarizing note, with some fans keen on the happy ending Carl Grimes got, and others disappointed that it ended abruptly in the wake of Rick's death. However, with a time-jump of over two decades, a lot changed for the free world Rick always envisioned, with new alliances made and old ones expanded.
While it seems like mankind ultimately won the war over the zombies for the most part, let's take a look at what spinoffs the journey Robert Kirkman crafted at the very end potentially sets up.
Hershel turns out to be the antagonist of this issue, coming off like a spoiled brat. In fact, Carl's wife, Andrea, Hershel's sister, tells their mom, Maggie, he's similar to the man who killed Rick, Sebastian Milton, and he ought to be reined in. A spinoff focusing on how he went from being a cute baby to this jerk who makes money with a roving Carnival-zombie show would be interesting, as it'd detail the dynamic and overall fallout between him and Maggie.
We know that Maggie threw herself headfirst into politics and peacekeeping with the Commonwealth after Rick's death, eventually becoming President of the Eastern Alliance, so their tension and her overall neglect could even make him a sympathizing villain. Since Walkers are now a rare commodity, joining Hershel on his hunts could be pretty interesting, and it could build nicely to the rest of his story before Maggie put him under what seems to be house arrest.
SHERIFF KAPOOR'S JOURNEY
Fans were faked out with future issues being touted as ones that'd detail the rise of a new sheriff named Sheriff Kapoor. However, a spinoff could easily make up for this by showing how Kapoor became this respectable individual who got his post as people trusted him to fill the shoes Rick left behind. Even Carl holds a deep reverence for Kapoor and another P.O.C. character like this would add even more diversity to The Walking Dead Universe.
Kapoor is also hinted to be one of the reasons Walkers are rare these days so seeing him rising up as a soldier through the ranks and becoming top cop might even be a more action-filled ride, similar to Rick's early days before he officially led his people to Alexandria and beyond. Kapoor is a no-nonsense man so we could well be looking at Rick 2.0 -- a man who the alliance trusts to protect its people to the death.
OLD MAN NEGAN
Carl pays a visit to Springhaven with Lydia to drop off some goods for a mysterious person. We discover it's Negan thanks to the Lucille tombstone, although he never answers the door. His story got resolved pretty quickly following the Whisperer War, but fans would love to see how he fared in the wake of Rick's death. They were bitter rivals turned allies, and Negan did act as a father-figure to Carl, so after Rick passed, there's a fatherly dynamic that's worth exploring between both of them.
There's also room to dissect Hershel's relationship with Negan, as it's safe to assume he'd know Negan bashed his dad's head in with a bat. There could be a lot of drama to mine from the relationship, especially with Hershel feeling spiritually connected to Glenn in the presence of Walkers. Whether it's before or after the time-jump, one thing's for sure, we'd probably be looking at a frail shell of what Negan used to be as he realized redemption's a hard road to walk after doing the things he did. There's also the possibility he stepped up in Rick's absence and helped the alliance as well, only to see this reclusive behavior as his angsty retirement.
THE WESTERN ALLIANCE
This body is only mentioned in passing by Maggie and later on by Eugene as he builds train tracks to connect the Eastern to the Western Alliance. Basically, this is another pocket of TWD stories from the past, present and future that could be worth diving into. We'd have new heroes and villains, and a blank canvas that Kirkman or another creator could fill out with a fresh perspective.
It could be the comic's response to Fear The Walking Dead and could even align with the mysterious entity that took in Andrew Lincoln's Rick in the TV series. Either way, this new society means new opportunities to tell the zombie apocalypse in a much fresher way, and the icing on the cake would be to see how a unified alliance works with Maggie and her bureaucrats now that the latter has seemingly gotten the formula for peace right.
THE SAFE ZONE EXPANSION
It'd also be interesting to see how the Kingdom, Hilltop, Commonwealth and Alexandria expanded their reach in the wake of Rick's death. One would think these societies would have gotten more skeptical and introverted, but it seems they all evolved. Filling in this time-jump would even allow us to see how the likes of Mercer, Jesus, Aaron and Lydia all rode off into that romantic sunset in various parts of the world.
There's also room to look into the grimier aspects, such as how Eugene got his train project started and to such a big, working scope. This spinoff could also elaborate on how the zombie numbers were drastically reduced, with Carl being vague about this purge. There's even more potential to look at the "safe zones" outside America, not to mention this expansion could touch on the existence of a cure, possibly taking a note for the TV show and looking at the CDC. Most of all, this series could finally explain the rocky road to ice cream's return.