When did Rick say we’re the ones who live in The Walking Dead?

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

The Walking Dead series finale served fans a surprise coda scene that featured fan favorites Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). Fans had been very vocal regarding the inclusion of Rick in the series finale as the story began with and should rightly end with Rick. During this scene, the theme was “we’re the ones who live,” a quote from an early season, but what did it signify?

Walking Dead
Katelyn Nacon Chandler Riggs Andrew Lincoln Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The quote “We’re the ones who live” was initially uttered by Rick during the season 5 episode 15, “Try.” This was after a knockdown, drag-out fight he had with Porch Dick Pete (Corey Brill). Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) tells Rick to stop the fight, and as the Alexandria residents come towards Rick, he pulls out a gun and tells them:

"You still don’t get it. None of you do. We know what needs to be done, and we do it. We’re the ones who live. You, you just sit and plan and hesitate. You pretend like you know when you don’t."

Michonne uses this quote when speaking to Rick in season 7, episode 8, “Hearts Still Beating,” and episode 9, “Rock in the Road.” She would remind him what he said to the residents of Alexandria using quotes from his speech in season 5.

The Walking Dead’s final episode

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners would discuss the scene from the finale where numerous Walking Dead characters, new and old, speak this phrase.

The scene begins with Rick writing to Michonne and she to her children as they talk about being connected no matter how far apart they are. Rick talks about remembering the dead as well as the living. They speak of strength and love being a vital part of their connections. They are all pieces of a whole that make them who they are.

Michonne says remember what I said, what HE said, and hold it to your heart as the characters begin stating Rick’s words, “We’re the ones who live.”

The phrase may seem strange to use in a world full of death. But TWD Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple stated that these words are a “continuum of a relationship and love that can’t be extinguished.” The whole purpose of this final scene was to show that even those who have died or can’t be together still influence the others they have encountered.

It is vital to remember the context in which Rick first said these words to understand what he meant. When talking to Deanna and the others, he explained that they live because they take action and do what needs to be done. They are inspired by each person they have encountered along the way, and whether they are dead or alive, near or far, they will always impact, inspire, and lend strength to those still living.

It was fitting that Judith (Cailey Fleming) would be the last person to say these words to her brother RJ (Antony Azor), as they are the future.

Entertainment Weekly has listed the characters who spoke the words in the series finale episode.

Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
Seth Gilliam (Gabriel)
Ross Marquand (Aaron)
Lennie James (Morgan)
Josh McDermitt (Eugene)
Laurie Holden (Andrea)
Khary Payton (Ezekiel)
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan)
Melissa McBride (Carol)
Norman Reedus (Daryl)
Chandler Riggs (Carl)
Michael Cudlitz (Abraham)
Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
Nadia Hilker (Magna)
Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko)
Angel Theory (Kelly)
Christian Serratos (Rosita)
Paola Lázaro (Princess)
Cassady McClincy (Lydia)
Cooper Andrews (Jerry)
Okea Eme-Akwari (Elijah)
Margot Bingham (Max)
Steven Yeun (Glenn)
Danai Gurira (Michonne)
Andrew Lincoln (Rick)

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

Rick and Michonne will be featured in a spinoff series aptly titled The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. The official title and a teaser were released at SDCC 2023. The series will air sometime in 2024, and fans are excited to see the reunion between the powerhouse couple. The Ones Who Live will continue the epic love story of Rick and Michonne and reveal these characters’ long-awaited reunion.

In late spring 2023, the actor’s and writer’s strike halted The Ones Who Live production. In September 2023, AMC struck a deal with SAG/AFTRA to resume production of three series: The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, and Interview with a Vampire. 

Next. Walking Dead spinoffs a complete list of the upcoming series. dark

Follow Undead Walking on Twitter and sign up for the once-daily Undead Walking newsletter to avoid missing out on everything in The Walking Dead universe.