If it turns out to be true, a new Fear the Walking Dead theory would provide an explanation for what really happened to Rick Grimes after his exit from The Walking Dead. Despite being saved by the CRM more than six years ago, Rick has yet to return to his friends and family in Alexandria. His continued absence from the community has raised a number of questions about his status in The Walking Dead universe.
As a show focused on a conflict with the nefarious CRM, The Walking Dead: World Beyond dropped possible hints about Rick’s whereabouts as well as several big reveals about the organization’s methods. However, its two-season run avoided directly explaining the Rick Grimes mystery. While the series allowed for a better understanding of why they may have taken him, where is he now and why he hasn’t come back have yet to be addressed at length. Once World Beyond ended, it became apparent that definitive answers won’t be offered until AMC finally makes its Rick Grimes movies. As things stand, there’s no telling when any of the three planned Walking Dead films will release.
Recent developments indicate that viewers may actually get a better idea of what’s going on with Rick earlier than expected. The end of the Fear the Walking Dead season 7 part 2 trailer revealed the long-awaited return of Madison (Kim Dickens), a beloved character long thought to be dead. Her one scene in the trailer has fueled speculation that her newest storyline is tied to the CRM. If this theory about Madison and the CRM is accurate to what the show is doing, this would have huge implications for Rick’s future in The Walking Dead franchise. Here’s what the theory is, how it relates to Rick, and what it would mean for his movies.
Why Madison May Have Been Captured By The CRM
In the Fear the Walking Dead season 7 part 2 trailer, the long-missing Madison was shown sitting down in a room alone. A mysterious voice on an intercom asked for her name, and then told her that they would decide who she would be from now on. What this unidentified person said confirms that this group uses indoctrination methods. Whoever they are, they appear to be intent on brainwashing people into following their directives and erasing their previous identities and loyalties. This approach sounds identical to how the CRM functions in The Walking Dead franchise. Indoctrination is exactly how the CRM controls its soldiers. It goes to great lengths to ensure that its soldiers completely buy in to the CRM’s worldview.
The comparisons between Madison’s return and what’s known about the CRM have given the impression that the group will factor heavily into future Fear the Walking Dead stories. And since Madison’s story is coinciding with the PADRE mystery, there’s a good chance that the latter has some degree of involvement with her current activities. If PADRE is responsible for Madison’s disappearance, that would bolster – rather than disprove – the CRM theory. After all, PADRE and CRM may not be two different organizations. PADRE could be a facility operated by the Civic Republic Military. If this is true, that would explain why PADRE hasn’t been found yet. Alicia and other Fear the Walking Dead characters have been stumped by their inability to track down this mysterious place that no one knows anything about. So far, the secretive nature of PADRE is right in line with how the CRM operates. They too carefully guard the locations of their bases.
How Rick’s Walking Dead Exit Compares To Madison’s Disappearance
Building on the connection between Madison’s captors and the CRM is the similarities between her situation and Rick’s. Curiously, both are major Walking Dead characters who have been presumed dead for a number of years, but will eventually turn up alive. Also, both haven’t returned to their respective groups despite having family members they’d naturally want to see again. Clearly, the predicaments of the two characters have a lot in common. It’s at least possible that the parallels are simply a huge coincidence, but that may not be the cast at all. The explanation for Madison not coming back yet and Rick’s prolonged absence may be one and the same. The CRM could have kidnapped and brainwashed Madison and Rick.
Brainwashing Can Explain Why Rick Hasn’t Returned
While it may be hard to imagine any amount of conditioning working effectively on either character, it would clear up the mystery of why they haven’t returned. With Rick, this issue is especially perplexing. As noted above, Rick went missing more than six years ago, thus giving him plenty of time to make it back to Alexandria. Theoretically, the CRM could have been holding him captive this whole time, but this outcome feels unlikely. For them, keeping him prisoner for several years would be unproductive and would only be a waste of their time and resources. That’s why it stands to reason that Rick has made a conscious decision not to return. If the Civic Republic Military somehow managed to condition Rick through some advanced indoctrination methods, he could have chosen to remain in their facility. Furthermore, the CRM may have been able to break Rick if the bridge explosion resulted in some form of brain damage or memory loss.
What A Brainwashed Rick Grimes Would Mean For His Movies
Rick Grimes returning as a brainwashed member of the CRM would set the stage for some heartbreaking reunions if such a scenario ever did come to pass. If The Walking Dead took this route, it would mean that Rick’s return won’t be a result of his escape from the CRM. Instead, he may be only be seen again if his friends – such as Michonne, Daryl, and Carol – uncover his whereabouts and stage a rescue mission. Perhaps only by seeing and interacting with them will Rick be able to break free of the CRM’s hold over him.
The brainwashing plot device would certainly make sense of why Rick hasn’t been around, but it would also present The Walking Dead movies with some added challenges. His commitment to his family and everything he’s been through make him a poor candidate for indoctrination, so getting past this obstacle in a way that works could prove problematic. What Fear the Walking Dead ultimately does with Madison in season 7 and whether or not it confirms CRM connection could shed some light on what Rick’s situation will be in The Walking Dead movies.