The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: The Meaning Behind Rick and Michonne Spinoff Title

The Ones Who Live, the title of the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff, is a reminder of Rick and Michonne's unbreakable bond.

The Walking Dead Rick and Michonne
Photo: AMC

This article contains spoilers for the series finale of The Walking Dead.

After getting a brief taste of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) impending reunion in the series finale of The Walking Dead last year, AMC has finally announced the title of their upcoming spinoff series. During AMC’s Walking Dead Universe Fan Watch Party at SDCC, it was revealed that Rick and Michonne’s series would be called The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live

This title is the perfect callback to The Walking Dead with the phrase “the ones who live” being a recurring theme throughout the series and an important part of Rick and Michonne’s relationship. Rick first utters these words in season 5, telling Deanna Monroe (Tovah Feldshuh) and the more passive residents of Alexandria “We know what needs to be done and we do it. We’re the ones who live.” Michonne then repeats the phrase back to Rick in season 7 after a couple of close calls, and it becomes a sort of reminder to them that no matter what they go through, that their love for each other will endure.

Chief content officer for The Walking Dead and The Ones Who Live showrunner Scott M. Gimple talked about this phrase with Entertainment Weekly before the series finale and why he wanted to use it in the post-credit scene. “It was always this phrase that was pretty wild. As much as there were so many people dying and being able to say, ‘We’re the ones who live.’ But I never took it as just applying to the living people, because that seemed a little much to be like, ‘Hey, we’re the ones that live, too bad about all those people we love.’ No, to me, it felt like there’s a continuum of a relationship and love that cannot be extinguished. And that is what is forged in this hell that we’ve lived through together. And the triumphant thing is that we forever lived through each other and beyond. That, to me, seems [to be] the message of the whole thing.”

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In the last moments of The Walking Dead’s final episode “Rest in Peace,” we see Rick and Michonne writing in what seems to be the same journal in a yet to be determined time apart. Rick is writing to Michonne, and Michonne to their children. Michonne repeats what she told Rick in season 7, ending her letter to Judith with “Remember what I said. It’s what he said. Hold it to your heart. It’s true. Forever.” before a chorus of characters from the series say the line over and over, “we’re the ones who live.” We see Rick being chased by the Civic Republic Military while Michonne rides sword-in-hand toward a large horde of walkers before the sequence ends with their children Judith (Cailey Fleming) and RJ (Antony Azor) at the Hilltop. Judith then looks at her brother and tells him “We get to start over. We’re the ones who live.”

This line holds a lot of power for Rick, Michonne, and their family. According to Gimple “no matter where these characters are, the situations they’re in, whether they’re living or dead, they’re forever connected by their time with each other. That they are part of a family that is unbreakable.” This unbreakable bond seems to be the driving force of Rick and Michonne’s journey, and we’re eager to see them reunited in The Ones Who Live. The does not yet have a release date but AMC confirmed it will arrive in 2024.