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The Biggest Unanswered Questions In The Walking Dead

In the world of the The Walking Dead, fans know they're going to watch beloved characters evolve, go through hardships, and even die. Communities rise, fall, build alliances, wage war, and struggle to survive the fearsome zombie hordes that give the long-running hit series its name. Threats to major protagonists, like the once-mighty Saviors and Whisperers, have gone from major obstacles to chapters of the show's past, all while the world of the franchise continues to evolve and grow as spinoffs reveal aspects and areas of the Walking Dead saga that fans have never seen before.

During all these years, numerous storylines, and countless changes, The Walking Dead probably couldn't help but leave a host of important unanswered questions dangling along the way. With all that in mind, here's a look at some of the major burning questions that the series has yet to answer.

Where has Rick been?

We last see a critically wounded Rick in season 9, injuring himself in a heroic attempt to save his friends and loved ones from a massive herd of Walkers. What the other survivors don't know is that Rick survives the heroic action (albeit barely) and is rescued by the mysterious Anne. Anne's allies gather the pair into a helicopter to fly off to parts unknown, after which the show jumps forward years later — with no sign of Rick in the interim as far as the other protagonists are concerned.

In season 10, Michonne discovers evidence on a grounded military boat that Rick may have survived the ordeal — among a host of scavenged goods, she finds his boots and cell phone, along with a log entry that suggests he may be alive and is potentially in New Jersey. She sets off to find him.

Now, we know a few things about the mysterious group who took Rick — the helicopter he left in belongs to the Civic Republic Military (or CRM), which will play a major role in the spinoffs The World Beyond and the Rick-centric films that will continue his story. They're an element of the Alliance of the Three, a network of three allied communities — the CRM is militaristic, advanced, and huge. So we know where Rick's journey potentially takes him, but not exactly where it is, and we certainly have no idea what the intervening years have done for Rick's circumstances or character.

What's next for Michonne?

In the years since Rick's disappearance and murky season 9 fate, fan favorite Michonne has become the leader of the Alexandria Safe Zone as well as the adoptive mother of Judith Grimes (and mother of R.J. Grimes). We last see her in the episode "What We Become" as she sets off north upon her discovery that Rick may be alive, determined to discover the fate of the man she still loves. 

"What We Become" is confirmed to be the last appearance of the character on The Walking Dead, so we are unlikely to discover the answer within the show as it wraps up its final arcs. This is obviously an unhappy end for fans of the series, as Michonne is a pivotal and well-loved character. So... what will become of her?

Despite the character's absence from the rest of the series, Michonne is open to return in the Rick-centric films, so fans can expect a resolution to her romance with Rick and whatever else ultimately happens to the character. It will certainly be tied to Rick and the Civic Republic Military (whose helicopters took him away), but as those elements are also up in the air, Michonne's fate can't help but remain mysterious in the interim.

Who attacks Eugene's group?

Another mystery concerns the fate of Eugene's group, who are last seen captured by a cadre of mysterious armed soldiers at the end of season 10, episode 16. Eugene spends considerable time talking to a mysterious stranger named Stephanie over the radio, and they eventually plan to meet in person. Eugene, Ezekiel, and Yumiko set out for the rendezvous a little later than expected.

They don't find Stephanie, and instead are rather quickly overcome by a coordinated attack from mysterious soldiers in shiny, white armor. The show hasn't revealed who these soldiers are yet, but the scene is a note-perfect mirror of a passage in the comic book source material that marks the debut of the massive community known as the Commonwealth.

In the comics, the Commonwealth are a large, well-organized network of communities that attempt to "restart civilization" following the devastation of the zombie plague. It seems safe to assume that the attack is our first introduction to the group, but the show has deviated from the books that inspired it before — until The Walking Dead tells us outright, there's no way of knowing for sure.

What do we know about Stephanie?

When Eugene sets out to meet the mysterious Stephanie, he approaches his meeting from a hopeful place full of romantic thoughts. After a long history of unrequited feelings for Rosita, Eugene is understandably happy at the idea of a potential romance with this mysterious woman he sets out to meet for the first time. When he instead encounters an unexpected trap at the intended meet, he has to be suspicious.

From Eugene's perspective, there could be any number of explanations. The comic books do posit that Stephanie has a connection to the Commonwealth, the group whose white-armored soldiers trap and capture Eugene and company, yet eventually she and Eugene do start a relationship despite this frightening experience. The show's take on this relationship could go in an entirely different direction. We do know, however, that Eugene's plans for romance have hit at least a pretty major snag.

Is Stephanie intentionally setting Eugene up for a trap? Is it a well-intentioned meetup that's intercepted in ways she can't control? Or will the show change her origins so she isn't related to the Commonwealth in any way or possibly affiliated with another group, thus changing the dynamics entirely? And most importantly, how will Eugene see it, and what will he believe? Assuming, of course, his capture doesn't lead to something worse.

What is the relationship between the Commonwealth and the Civic Republic?

Two major series events — Rick's season 9 departure and Eugene's season 10 capture — set us up for two major new civilizations in the world of The Walking Dead in the Commonwealth and the Civic Republic. What does the existence of these groups mean for the future of the show, and what is their relationship to each other?

The Civic Republic, which will be shown in more detail in The Walking Dead: World Beyond and the Rick Grimes spinoff films, is an advanced authoritarian society and part of the Alliance of the Three, an allied network of fortified cities including Omaha, Nebraska; Portland, Oregon; and the Civic Republic itself, which is geographically around Pennsylvania. It boasts 200,000 citizens and stands as the largest civilization in the show world to date.

The Commonwealth is an Ohio-based network of communities with around 50,000 citizens and its own well-organized standing army. It's a central civilization in the comics, and as such there's much more available information on it. It's a thoroughly hierarchical class system, running in practice like a feudal monarchy where people are locked into the jobs they had before the apocalypse.

While the two organizations are distinct and should have strong roles in the future of the show, we don't know what their relationships to each other are. As two of the largest civilizations we've seen so far, each with strong hierarchies and large, technologically advanced militaries, they're certain to know of each other and have likely interacted. At the same time, the Commonwealth of the comics isn't a member of the Alliance of the Three, so they're also surely not allied. The future of the show and its world may lie in the relationships between these societies — we just don't know yet what they are.

How will Daryl react to news that Rick is likely alive?

Following Rick's disappearance (and the subsequent mistaken belief that he's dead), it's unclear how the other members of his group will learn — and react to the — news that Rick is potentially alive after all this time. Michonne has informed Judith that Rick may indeed be alive, and she set off to find him with Judith's blessing. We know that Judith has since told Daryl that Michonne isn't coming back, telling him that she left to help some people she'd met — yet omitting the most important part.

She tearfully informs Daryl that she didn't want to tell him anything about Michonne's departure for fear that he'd leave, too, so it stands to reason that's why she omits the real motive for Michonne's exit. Daryl and Rick have such a long friendship that it's unlikely he'd react any differently than Michonne. He's nearly certain to find out eventually... it's just unclear how.

How will Daryl respond to the discovery that his longtime friend may be alive? While he'll be undoubtedly shocked, will he be heartbroken? Confused? Angry? Will he leave? And how long will it take him to figure out where to look? There's a big reveal in Daryl's future. How it will occur, and how he'll react, are anything but certain.

Who is the masked warrior?

Late in season 10, we see the introduction of a mysterious masked warrior alongside Maggie. Wielding dual curved blades, he's first seen during a rescue of Gabriel, who's barricaded in a hospital that's being besieged by a group of Whisperers.

The Whisperers barge in and easily overtake Gabriel. It seems as though all is lost before the masked warrior enters and effortlessly slaughters the attacking Whisperers, the last of which is taken out by Maggie. The only clue we have to his identity is her cryptic line "he's with me."

We know a few things from this brief encounter: the masked survivor is a he, a skilled warrior, and Maggie clearly trusts him. Other than those sparse details, we have yet to learn much of anything about who's under the mask, what his relation to Maggie is, or... anything else about him, really. Hopefully we'll be seeing a lot more of him — and getting more answers — in future episodes.

Can Virgil be trusted?

Virgil, first introduced in season 10, is still a very mysterious character. We first encounter him as a researcher in the capture of Oceanside, one who promises Michonne a weapon that will help against the Whisperers. Virgil accompanies Michonne on the excursion that marks her major discovery of Rick's survival (and subsequent departure from the show). He betrays her, trapping and drugging her — a prelude to the discovery that he's also been keeping his coworkers captive for quite some time. She overpowers him, and when Michonne discovers Rick may be alive, she lets Virgil live and sets off on her journey.

He later returns to Oceanside to find it empty, and we see a horse-mounted Virgil pick up a desperate Connie. Here's where things get both dicey and mysterious. When Michonne leaves Virgil, she seems to see some good in him despite his treachery and a history of having done some bad things. Is he trustworthy? If not, Connie is certainly in jeopardy. Her fate, and the response of Daryl and others, remains mysterious.

Negan's free. What will Maggie do?

Our introduction to Negan comes when he's the vicious leader of the Saviors, a group who describe themselves as bringing civilization and order back to the world — albeit at a terribly steep cost. Every community they encounter is subjected to their rule, until a coalition of the Alexandria Safe Zone, Hilltop Colony, the Kingdom, and Oceanside break their power. Until that time, Negan demands absolute loyalty, often killing a member of a rebellious group to reinforce his rule and subjugate those he conquers.

Early on, in an effort to break the will of Rick and his group, Negan brutally kills Abraham and Glenn with his barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille. This leaves Maggie, Glenn's wife, tragically widowed. Following the defeat of Negan's Saviors, Maggie is understandably angry at Rick's decision to spare Negan's life (setting off his long imprisonment).

Years later, Negan seems by all accounts to be a changed man. He is now bonded with Judith, pivotal to the end of the Whisperers by killing Alpha and fighting with Beta, and actively works to prove his loyalty to Daryl. It seems at this juncture that Negan's years-long change of heart is real... and he's no longer in prison. What will Maggie do when she finds this brutal ex-ruler, the man who killed Glenn, is freely out and about?