The final episode of "The Walking Dead" airs Sunday on AMC and AMC+ at 9 p.m. ET.
Even if you haven't watched the apocalyptic drama in years, you may be curious about how the show ends.
Insider rounded up what you need to know if you want to tune in for the final episode.
Rick has been off the show since 2018. Fans are hoping he'll make some sort of cameo on the finale.
On his final episode, Rick was carried away on a helicopter with a woman named Anne/Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) to an undisclosed location, never to be seen again.
We later learned that helicopter belonged to a group of ~200,000 called the Civic Republic Military. (An entire "TWD" spin-off show was dedicated to them, but we somehow never learned more about what happened to Rick.)
If you're tuning in to the finale because you're hoping Andrew Lincoln will show up, it may not be a complete long shot anymore. At the least, there's a chance he could appear in an end-credits scene.
In July, Lincoln surprised fans at San Diego Comic-Con to announce he's reprising his "TWD" role in an upcoming Rick and Michonne spin-off series in 2023.
Michonne left the show in 2020, searching for Rick.
The last time we saw Michonne (Danai Gurira), she found clues that Rick may still be alive more than six years after his disappearance.
It may or may not be important to know that on Gurira's final episode, Michonne went off on her search for Rick and found herself face-to-face with a mysterious caravan of people.
At the time, showrunner Angela Kang told Insider via email that they coordinated with "TWD" universe chief Scott Gimple "on what he needed the end point in the episode to be in order to set up the handoff to the TWD Universe."
There still hasn't been any payoff for this moment. There's a chance we could see or hear from Michonne on the finale.
Morgan (Lennie James) went over to the spin-off show "Fear TWD," but we're hoping there's a small chance he appears on the series finale.
Other than Rick Grimes, Morgan Jones is the only remaining character alive from the 2010 pilot. He may have moved to "Fear the Walking Dead" years ago, but it seems wild to end the flagship show without acknowledging one of the few characters to make it all the way through "TWD."
When Insider spoke with James in October 2021, he said he had a conversation about whether or not he may return to "TWD" before it ended.
"That's about as much as I can say," James told Insider with a laugh.
Honestly, most of the cast you probably remember is gone.
Many viewers dropped off the show around season seven after Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) brutally killed Glenn (Steven Yeun). Carl (Chandler Riggs) was killed back on season eight to the dismay of fans and some of the cast, including Norman Reedus.
Jesus (Tom Payne), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), and Henry (Matt Lintz) are a few other names you may recognize that were all killed off.
Going into the finale, the longest-living legacy characters on the show now are Carol, Daryl, and Maggie.
The other main protagonists, in what fans refer to as Team Family, include Aaron (Ross Marquand), Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Jerry (Cooper Andrews), Judith (Cailey Fleming), Juanita "Princess" Sanchez (Paola Lázaro), Lydia (Cassady McClincy), and Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari).
Yes, there are a lot of characters.
If any of those above characters die, fans are going to be upset.
It's worth noting that Negan is also with the good guys, sorta. (We'll come back to him.)
Those aren't the only characters you need to know about heading into the finale.
When Rick left the show, "TWD" jumped forward six years and introduced a bunch of other new characters.
The newer group consists of Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Kelly (Angel Theory), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), and Luke (Dan Fogler from the "Fantastic Beasts" franchise).
After missing for an entire season, Luke just reunited with his group on the show's penultimate episode. Magna and Yumiko used to date but had a falling out. They could patch things up by the show's end.
Kelly and Connie are sisters who have lost and found one another a few times on the show's final seasons in pretty emotional moments. Fans will be heartbroken if anything happens to one of them.
Out of that new group, Connie became a breakout fan favorite. A lot of fans ship her and Daryl.
You may recognize Lauren Ridloff because she starred in Marvel's 2021 film, "Eternals."
Expect some badass moments with Connie on the finale. Fans will be holding out hope to see if there are any final sparks between her and Daryl. Daryl learned American Sign Language to communicate with Connie when she joined the group.
Carol has teased Daryl from time to time over the way they act around one another, but Daryl always brushes it off.
Rick's daughter Judith basically took over Carl's role.
After the time jump, the series aged up Rick's daughter, Judith (Cailey Fleming), who was born on season three.
Fans quickly embraced the witty and adorable firecracker who seemed like the perfect mix between the two people who raised her, Rick and Michonne. (A reminder that Judith is most likely the biological daughter of Rick's late wife Lori and his late, former best friend Shane.)
Judith is one of the few people on the show who knows Michonne went off in search of her dad.*
Judith has purposefully kept that very important news to herself while everyone else believes he died years ago.
*Technically, there's at least one other person who may have some knowledge about this named Virgil, but he kind of disappeared from the show on its final season.
Rick and Michonne had a child who Rick doesn't know exists.
He's named R.J. (Antony Azor). (Yes, it stands for Rick Jr.)
The saddest part is that Rick isn't even aware he has a son with Michonne. She had R.J. after Rick went missing.
With Michonne gone, Daryl, Rosita (Christian Serratos), and the other Alexandrians have watched over R.J. and Judith as their own.
Negan is remarried and expecting a kid.
Years after bashing Glenn's head in, Negan attempted to hang out and live with the good guys, but no one really wanted to associate with the former leader of the Saviors.
Earlier on the final season, Negan took the hint and left the group, ultimately joining another. Fate brought him back together with Aaron, Father Gabriel, Daryl, and Maggie, recently, when they stumbled upon Negan's new group, who has largely been killed.
Maggie and the rest were surprised to learn that Negan's remarried to a woman named Annie, who's currently pregnant.
No one's fully forgiven Negan for his past actions, but the survivors have recognized that he's been a helpful ally when they've needed one. (He's previously saved Judith and killed the leader of a group who slaughtered many people in Daryl's group.)
Most recently, Negan put his life on the line to save Ezekiel, Princess, and others.
Maggie and Negan have an understanding, but they're not becoming besties any time soon.
Negan previously saved and protected Maggie's son, Hershel, but that doesn't mean they're about to become friends.
Negan is well aware that Maggie would never hesitate to put a bullet in his head or sacrifice him if it came down to it.
Luckily for Negan, Maggie's taken a liking to his wife. Their mutual respect for one another is a major reason Maggie is tolerating Negan.
Maggie and Negan's dynamic will continue to play out on a spinoff led by the two, "The Walking Dead: Dead City," next year that will take place in New York City.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what's been going on with the group, here's what's been happening on the final season that you should know about in order to understand the finale.
On the show's final season, the group found an idyllic community in Ohio called the Commonwealth that's home to about 50,000 residents and has a massive army.
Like some of the communities they've come across before on the series — Terminus, Woodbury, and Alexandria — things looked shiny and perfect at first glance.
Led by Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins), the Ohio community has basically returned to a normal way of life. People have jobs, there's a working hospital, stores, and banquets, and money is used as currency. There's even ice cream.
The walled-in community is protected by a large army of trained, armed soldiers who look like they're in Stormtrooper gear. They're commanded by Mercer (Michael James Shaw) whose sister Max (Margot Bingham) is in a relationship with one of our longtime survivors, Eugene.
During the final season, many of our survivors thought they'd start living here so the younger kids in the group could have some sense of stability and get a chance to live normally. Judith and R.J. were even going to school.
However, as things tend to go on "TWD," the Commonwealth isn't as great of a community as it seems.
The final season of "TWD" has largely looked at the class dynamics between the wealthy and the poor. The Commonwealth community is so large that it's split up into districts. The wealthy live in a section called the estates while thousands of less fortunate survivors live in a territory called the lower wards. You can see a map, here.
In the Commonwealth, citizens are designated jobs equivalent to their old way of life. (E.g.: If you were wealthy before the world fell, then you're still going to be rich.)
That's contrary to how Daryl and our survivors have lived. In this new world, your previous job didn't matter. Carol, a housewife, and Daryl, a loner, could rise up and become leaders they didn't know they could be.
The Commonwealth is squandering a lot of potential by judging people based on their past lives. Here, Carol is given a job at a bakery. Magna, a leader of another group, is made a waiter.
"The Commonwealth way," as it's referred to on the show, has led to a lot of tension between the poor and wealthy that have played out as small background subplots throughout the season.
Governor Pamela Milton rules the Commonwealth, but she's not a great, empathetic leader. She rules with the wealthy in mind.
Milton was only made leader during the apocalypse because of her name (her father was a former US president), but she wasn't the best equipped for the role. She lacks empathy and a connection with her people, qualities that have made other leaders, like Rick or Deanna, revered.
As a result, Pamela uses the dead as a scare tactic to get her community under control whenever something happens that she can't face head-on. She enforces a lockdown and has some corrupt Commonwealth soldiers rally up the dead and send them to the Commonwealth gates for a little bit.
It's all theatrics. No one's ever, supposed to be, in actual danger. Her army is supposed to look like heroes, saving the community from a threat.
In turn, the community will, hopefully, forget their issues with Pamela and, instead, focus on the fact that she keeps everyone safe. Everything then returns to normal until the next uprising against Pamela.
Throughout the season, some citizens have suggested that someone else who really respects the community, like Mercer, should lead the Commonwealth.
Connie, a former journalist, published a scathing, anonymous article exposing corruption inside the Commonwealth.
On the season's final episodes, we learn that tens of people are quietly going missing in the Commonwealth if they stir up civic unrest and attempt to assemble and overthrow Pamela.
Those who don't agree with how the community is run are horrifically taken to labor camps and are never seen again.
Leading into the final episodes, Connie exposed some of the Milton family's misdeeds. Chaos broke out, ultimately resulting in the death of Pamela's son, Sebastian.
When Daryl's group started causing trouble for Pamela, the majority of them were kidnapped and found themselves at the labor camps.
Eugene, meanwhile, went on trial, accused of killing Sebastian. He lost the rigged trial and was sentenced to death. He was saved before that could occur.
Heading into the finale, Daryl's group is trying to overthrow Pamela's rule in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth seized control of Alexandria, the Hilltop, and Oceanside — the communities belonging to Daryl's extended group — in the past few episodes.
Many of our survivors escaped the labor camps and snuck back into the Commonwealth on the penultimate episode.
Mercer has decided to join Daryl's group and turn on Pamela along with some of his trusted soldiers.
Before Eugene could be killed, Mercer saved him and pledged his allegiance to Daryl's group.
Mercer then helped Daryl's group sneak back into the Commonwealth.
Unfortunately, at the end of the penultimate episode, Mercer was jailed.
Based on the finale's trailer, we're expecting him to get out.
A massive swarm of the dead has entered the Commonwealth.
On the show's penultimate episode, Pamela's tactics go sideways. When the community starts to turn on her, she executes one of her typical lockdowns and orders some of the dead to be brought outside the walls to scare folks back into submission.
Unfortunately, Pamela's plan backfires. Instead of another routine event to settle down the community, by the episode's end, the dead wind up within the walls.
Instead of sending the Commonwealth army to clear the dead before they can kill anyone, Pamela orders the undead to be re-routed through the poorer sectors of the community.
She also orders soldiers to fall back to the wealthier estates and her home to keep her protected while everyone else fends for themselves.
As if the dead aren't enough of a problem, the final season of "TWD" introduced variant zombies who can climb walls, open doors, and pick up knives.
A few episodes back, "TWD" introduced walkers who are supposed to be a nod to some smarter zombies mentioned on the show's first season.
These smarter members of the undead are mixed in with the herd that just entered the Commonwealth. Negan spotted one of them on the series' penultimate episode and was caught completely off-guard. These may pose a problem for the survivors on the finale.
A few characters are currently separated from Daryl's group.
Aaron and Lydia are trapped in an RV as her life hangs in the balance. She was just bit by a walker and had part of her arm amputated. If she doesn't get medical attention, she could potentially die on the finale.
From teaser footage, Aaron, at the least, will reunite with the group at the Commonwealth. It's unclear if Lydia makes the trip with him.
Meanwhile, Lydia's love interest, Elijah, is presumably lost among the giant zombie horde that is piling into the Commonwealth. Jerry is also currently missing among the dead after he went to search for Elijah, Luke, and Jules. The latter pair were reunited with Daryl's group at the end of last Sunday's episode.
Daryl's dog is also currently missing heading into the finale.
After Rick left the show, Daryl gained a dog (aptly named Dog).
Dog was kidnapped a few episodes ago by the Commonwealth soldiers. We're hoping he'll make a reappearance.
Rosita is searching for her daughter, Coco.
Rosita has a little girl named Coco. A few episodes ago, Coco was taken by the Commonwealth soldiers to an unknown location and Rosita has desperately trying to reunite with her daughter.
We already know from an episode teaser on "TWD" aftershow "Talking Dead" that the search for Coco will play a part in the finale.
Last week's episode ended on a cliffhanger with Judith getting shot by Pamela. Most of Daryl's group is now trying to get her to safety.
Things aren't looking great for Judith heading into the finale.
While trying to shoot Maggie, Pamela accidentally shot Rick's daughter in the chest. Daryl's now running through zombie-filled streets to try and get her to a clinic as Carol, Maggie, Negan, and most of the survivors are fighting off a mix of regular and variant zombies.
Some official teaser photos for the finale seem to show Judith alive; however, they could be clever misdirection. The series' penultimate episode may have dropped some clues that things aren't going to end well for Judith.
Fans aren't super concerned for Maggie, Negan, and Daryl's safety heading into the finale.
Maggie and Negan are set to appear in a spin-off next year called "Dead City" while Daryl is getting one of his own. Carol may have some plot armor, too, since she was originally announced for the Daryl spin-off.
You can read about every "TWD" spin-off here.
Read the original article on Insider