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The Biggest Unanswered Questions In The Walking Dead

In the world of "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 Walking Dead: 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 returning 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's really running the Commonwealth?

Since Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess made first contact with the Commonwealth, everyone within the Virginia communities has had their chance to be introduced. For the first time since the apocalypse began, there's a place to live that truly looks like the world before the walkers. As more and more characters relocate to the Commonwealth, they begin to discover that not everything is what it seems and that the Commonwealth may not be as carefully organized as it appears at first glance.

Pamela Milton is governor of the Commonwealth, and in theory, she has the final say on everything that happens within the community's borders. Milton clearly has her own agenda, one that involves allowing herself and her son to live as wealthy socialites, just like they did before the apocalypse. However, her plans aren't the only ones affecting this new society. 

Lance Hornsby is Milton's deputy governor, and he has ambitions of expanding the Commonwealth and increasing his power. The average Commonwealth citizen, however, seems to look up to and respect security chief Michael Mercer more than the politicians that run the community. The balance of power between Milton, Hornsby, and Mercer seems to be in flux, and who will come out on top is one of the biggest lingering questions in the show.

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 of — 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.

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?

Negan has been on a journey of redemption ever since he was beaten by Rick at the end of Season 8. After keeping him locked in a jail cell for years, the community finally frees Negan when they need his help to survive. He's been a useful member of the group ever since, but Maggie's return to Alexandria at the end of Season 10 seems poised to change that. The early episodes of Season 11 explore the tension between Maggie's desire for revenge and Negan's reformed way of living.

Now Maggie has found herself relying on Negan's assistance more than once. At first, theirs was a begrudging partnership, but now there's genuine trust developing between them. Negan saved Hershel's life in "The Rotten Core," and Maggie comes to him for help again when the Commonwealth Army makes a move on Hilltop. For now, the two have an uneasy partnership, but Maggie certainly hasn't forgotten what Negan did to Glenn years ago. Complicating matters further, now Hershel knows that Negan is the one who killed his father. He may be young, but Hershel shows a willingness to settle matters on his own when he pulls a gun on Negan in Episode 14. It's anyone's guess how the three of them will resolve their differences.

What are the Miltons hiding?

The Commonwealth is far from perfect, and many of its biggest problems seem to be directly tied to Pamela Milton and her son Sebastian. The governor's son wears his corruption on his sleeve. Sebastian has repeatedly shown that he believes he's above the laws and rules that other Commonwealth citizens must follow. When he's cut off from his mother's money, Sebastian sends Daryl and Rosita into a walker-infested house to steal cash that can support his "lifestyle." Clearly, he's up to some shady business, but the extent of his wrongdoings is still mostly unknown.

Pamela, on the other hand, keeps her cards close to her chest. She may or may not know what Sebastian gets up to in her free time, but one thing is clear: she's more concerned with preserving her way of life than with providing for the people of the Commonwealth. From uneven resource distribution to the mysterious disappearance of dozens of citizens, there's clearly something strange happening in the Commonwealth, and the Miltons are at the center of it. Now that Eugene and his friends are investigating the family, it's only a matter of time until the truth comes to light.

Is the Commonwealth a force for good?

Most of the characters in "The Walking Dead" have an uneasy relationship with the Commonwealth. Many are grateful for the opportunity to start a new life in a bustling and relatively stable community. Others are deeply concerned about the inequities that are baked into the Commonwealth's social structure. It seems like both the good and the bad of the old world have been preserved in this post-apocalyptic community.

Of course, any place that's home to over 50,000 people can't just be one thing, but whether or not the Commonwealth is primarily a force for good is an essential question for our favorite characters to answer. In the Season 11 episode "Warlords," Maggie says she's concerned the Commonwealth's citizens haven't been tested by the world, much like how the people of Alexandria weren't tested before Rick's group arrived. That would certainly be a problem, but it's one that Maggie and her friends already know how to deal with.

Unfortunately, the Commonwealth also resembles another group we've seen before — the Saviors. The Commonwealth has a rigid social hierarchy, sucks up guns and other resources, and, under Lance Hornsby's leadership, seems intent on absorbing other communities. Its very size makes the Commonwealth one of the most imposing threats in the show's history. Is it a misguided community or the beginning of a corrupt empire? Only time will tell.

What will the Commonwealth do with the communities?

The midseason finale of Season 11 sees Hilltop, Alexandria, and Oceanside all being absorbed by the Commonwealth under the direction of Lance Hornsby. It likely won't be long until the Alexandrians and Hilltoppers currently living in the Commonwealth find out that their old homes have been annexed. Many of them are satisfied with their new lives in a safe and prosperous community, but how will they react when they realize that the Commonwealth is opposed to the freedom of other communities?

There's a good chance that the Commonwealth will treat its new acquisitions fairly. After all, it's already given time, manpower, and resources to the Alexandria rebuild. Perhaps the Commonwealth could help restore Hilltop to its former glory and guarantee safety to the people of Oceanside. 

On the other hand, we've seen the communities overtaken by an outside force, and that didn't go well for anyone. Hornsby says he wants to "remake the world," but the Saviors also believed they were doing what was right for the whole of humanity. "Act of God" ended with Hornsby ominously flipping a coin in front of a group of Oceanside prisoners. What is he deciding in that moment? Will he subjugate his new citizens and steal their resources, or is he truly committed to providing for all people? Whatever the answer, there's plenty of conflict ahead for everyone involved.