The Walking Dead 'The Ones Who Live' meant something less hopeful in the beginning

AMC will release the Rick and Michonne spinoff The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live in February. This title is built on hope, but originally, it was a bit darker

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC /
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During the bonus scene after the series finale episode of The Walking Dead, fans were treated to a look at Rick and Michonne, two characters who departed the series in seasons 9 and 10, respectively. Many believed the series wouldn't receive a proper ending without the return of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), and they were correct. At the end, one line was repeated by numerous characters "We're the ones who live." While this was used as a mantra of hope, its origins are slightly different.

The first time the phrase was used, Rick was in a very different mindset. This was during season 5, episode 15, "Try," immediately following his all-out brawl with Pete "Porch Dick" Anderson (Corey Brill). Rick and his group were still new to Alexandria but quickly picked up the fact that this community wasn't prepared to deal with anything outside their walls.

Carol (Melissa McBride), a former abuse victim, is gravely worried about Jessie (Alexandra Breckenridge) and her family as her husband Pete is abusive to them. Rick confronts Deana (Tovah Feldshuh) regarding the Anderson family, and she admits she knows of the abuse, but Pete's medical skills are an asset. Rick suggests they split them up, and if Pete refuses, they kill him. She tells him, "We don't kill people; this is civilization," she adds that they would send people away instead.

Rick goes to Jessie, but this leads to the fight with Pete. As the community gathers around, watching the men trying to choke one another, Deanna yells for them to stop the fight. Rick, waving his gun, asks, "Or what? You're gonna kick me out?"

""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.""

Rick Grimes

As he starts to state that he is against anyone who disagress with him Michonne (Danai Gurira) strikes him in the head, rendering him unconscious.

At this point, using "We're the one who live" meant that his group wasn't above making the hard choices that ensured their survival. Later, the quote would become a message of perseverance and a promise of better things for the future. The Ones Who Live spinoff will focus on Rick and Michonne's journey to find one another as they endure obstacles utilizing what they have learned from everyone they encountered in the past.

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Katelyn Nacon as Enid, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 15 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premieres on AMC and AMC+ on February 25, 2024.

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