Content Warning: The following article contains spoilers for the AMC show The Walking Dead.After 12 years and 11 seasons, The Walking Dead has said goodbye to AMC with a special one-and-a-half-hour-long episode that wrapped up several characters’ stories while setting up the long-awaited spin-offs of fan favorites like Daryl, Maggie and TWD super couple Rick and Michonne.
As one of the series’ longest episodes, the finale is full of special Easter eggs, unexpected cameos and specific cast demands that made the final episode perfect. From Daryl’s special line to the real reason behind Rosita’s death, there are plenty of finale facts every The Walking Dead fan must know about.
Chandler Riggs Makes A Cameo
Chandler Riggs left The Walking Dead in Season 8 when his character Carl was bitten by a walker, sharing an emotional goodbye with his dad Rick before ending his life before he could succumb to his bite. But that Season 8 episode isn’t the last you’ll see of Riggs.
After speculation of Riggs’ return rose when a group photo from the final day of shooting floated around online, it was finally confirmed by Riggs on the Talking Dead finale special that he made a cameo as a worker in the background of the Hilltop scenes near the end of the episode.
Rosita Wasn’t Supposed To Die
Not many lives are lost in the series finale, but out of the few, it was Rosita’s death that was the most devastating for everyone except her portrayer Christian Serratos. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor admitted it was her own suggestion for her character to die.
Serratos revealed that after realizing no major character was planned on being killed off, she fought for her character’s death. “I just really thought that we owed it to the show and to the audience to break their hearts one last time,” she pitched to the showrunners.
Yumiko And Magna’s Make-up
Despite generally killing off a lot of their queer characters, The Walking Dead has always been great with the LGBTQ+ representation on the show. Yumiko and Magna were a lesbian couple who arrived to the show in Season 9 but sadly ended their relationship the following season.
Spending the entirety of the final season broken up, Yumiko’s portrayer Eleanor Matsuura admitted during the finale special of Talking Dead that the reason why Yumiko and Magna share a loving kiss in the finale is that she advocated for them to get back together in the end when the showrunners weren’t planning on it.
Khary Payton’s Son Guest-Stars
When the finale flashes forward a year after Rosita’s death and Eugene is seen with Max and their new daughter who he named Rosie after his late friend, the baby portraying Rosie is actually Ezekiel’s portrayer Khary Payton‘s real-life son Eli Nkrumah.
This wouldn’t be the first time the cast’s family members appeared on the show. In Season 10, Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s wife Hilarie Burton Morgan of One Tree Hill fame appeared as his on-screen wife Lucille, while their son Augustus Morgan guest-starred as a young walker in Season 11.
Greg Nicotero’s Special On-Screen Moment With Norman Reedus
Showrunner Greg Nicotero has appeared on The Walking Dead as a walker several times, including as the very first walker that Norman Reedus’ Daryl kills. Because of this history, Nicotero made a special guest appearance in the final episode alongside Reedus.
When Daryl hops on his motorcycle and rides away – with apparent plans of exploring France, according to his upcoming TWD spin-off – he rides past a walker coming out of the woods played by Nicotero, making himself not only the first, but the final walker Daryl interacts with on the show.
The Symphonic Orchestra
The Walking Dead’s title sequences have always been unique, notable for decaying as each season passed by. But it’s that eerie theme song that makes it all come together, created by composer Bear McCreary for the show’s premiere in 2010, and has been used for the title sequence of every episode during its 11 seasons except for its last.
To go out with a bang, McCreary scored the final episode with a symphonic orchestra in Los Angeles. McCreary revealed on Twitter in July 2022 that he was joined by co-composer Sam Ewing and three players who worked on the main title back in 2010.
The Dinner Table
After taking down Pamela, the group is seen all together and eating a Thanksgiving-like meal around a dinner table. As if the scene wasn’t heartwarming enough, it’s also a direct callback to two prior moments of the series.
Not only did Carl tell Rick he hoped for a moment like that one day just before his devastating death in The Walking Dead, but the Season 7 premiere ended with a “what if” dream sequence featuring the group sitting around the dinner table with a happy Glenn and Abraham, showing what could have been if Negan hadn’t killed the two beloved characters.
The Meaning Behind The Episode’s Title
Episode titles sometimes play a key role in The Walking Dead, and when it comes to the series finale’s title “Rest in Peace,” not only does it mimic the title of the final book in the comic series, but potentially teases Rick’s return.
In Season 5, Rick shares with the group a memorable story about his grandfather, who, much like Rick at the time, would go to war every day but remind himself to “rest in peace” every night. The story ends with Rick telling him that eventually, his grandfather returned home, which is exactly what Rick’s portrayer Andrew Lincoln did in the series finale.
Rick And Michonne’s Return
Some of the final scenes of the finale bounce back and forth between Rick and Michonne, but the scenes can be hard to decipher at first watch. Writer Angela Kang explained to Insider just what the viewers are seeing during those final moments.
“It’s a past and a present story kind of living simultaneously, but it just shows that their intentions are emotionally the same,” Kang said, revealing that Rick is being seen at some point between Andrew Lincoln’s final episode in Season 9 and Danai Gurira’s final episode in Season 10, while Michonne is being seen on her search for Rick after her portrayer’s final episode.
Daryl Says The Show’s Title
It’s always an exciting, special, meta moment when a show or film purposefully throws its title into its final moments, and in The Walking Dead’s series finale, that honor went to one of the show’s major players, Norman Reedus.
It’s toward the beginning of the episode when Pamela is determined not to save her own community from the walkers that the group intervenes and Daryl epicly tells Pamela, “You built this place to be like the old world. That was the f**king problem. We have one enemy. We ain’t the walking dead.”