The Walking Dead: Why that one character appeared in the Old Man Rick visions

Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in episode 809 The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: Gene Page/AMC
Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) in episode 809 The Walking Dead (2010). Photo: Gene Page/AMC /
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An unexpected face showed up at the end of The Walking Dead episode “Honor.” Why was he there, and what does it mean for the future?

The Walking Dead’s emotional mid-season premiere brought some closure as we said goodbye to Carl, but it also explained some of the lingering questions dating back to the season 8 premiere, namely the Old Man Rick scenes of a future that wasn’t yet written. But now we know the truth: These were not Rick’s visions, they were Carl’s. With that in mind, what the heck was Negan doing there?

As it happens, we spent most of the front end of The Walking Dead season 8 seeing Carl’s visions for what he hopes the future could be. Based on Judith’s presumed age, it looks like the  visions are set at least five years in the future, if not slightly more. Rick is sporting a very grey beard while Michonne looks about the same. Everyone looks happy, though.

In episode 809 we see new faces in the visions. Jerry pays Alexandria a visit and Judith greets him with a hug. Eugene greets Rick and Judith and offers her an apple, telling her that he would love to have her as his sous chef (or vice versa). If Eugene is there, it means that bygones are bygones and the fact that the Mulleted One has been forgiven for defecting to the Saviors way back when.

It’s the final greeting that has everyone talking.

The last vision from Old Man Rick’s world, which we see after Carl has been laid to rest, Judith rushes up to a man working in the garden. “Morning,” she says. He stands up and smiles. “Morning to you, darlin.’” Only now we see the whole vision, that the man in the garden is Negan.

There are a variety of reasons why Negan would appear in Carl’s visions of the future. Let’s take a look at the two biggest reasons.