''The Walking Dead'' is a giant in terms of narrative thickness and its cornucopia of sideline stories. Still, that doesn't mean that the main character of the show, which in this case is Rick Grimes, hasn't been given the proper spot under the spotlight. Rick Grimes did some morally questionable things but he remains the catalyst for the entire group of survivors.

When it comes to expressing a certain degree of influence, Rick Grimes always knew best how to make people rally behind him. Eventually, that translated into a better chance for survival for the entire group.

On the dark side, one of Rick's decisions opened the gates of hell. Attaching that outpost of ''the Saviors'' brought both Alexandria and Hilltop to the brink of extinction.

A new threat looms ahead for Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes has been the leading character almost from day one. But that balance of power seems to have changed, especially during the eighth season. Maggie has grown her own influence and network of allies and she threatens to steer off Rick's way of doing things.

Deciding to spare Negan's life was an absolute act of mercy but by doing so, Rick unwillingly released a toxic cloud into some of his friends' minds. For them, Negan's death was the best medicine to close up those bleeding wounds.

Maggie already has Jesus and Daryl on her side with many more expected to join this new faction.

Season 8 finale did little to signal the possibility of a new villain or a threat for this Atlanta-based group of survivors. And that could be a hint that the conflict is about to change its paradigm. Can Rick handle this new type of threat?

Will Maggie become blind due to her thirst for revenge? These are the questions season 9 should offer a glimpse into.

A narrative without Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes has done a great job keeping the group alive in that harsh environment. But, it all came at a great cost as he had to bear the loss of his wife Lori, and his son Carl.

And, let's be honest, Carl's death was deemed unexpected and unnecessary by most of the fans.

If we were to consider a narrative without Rick Grimes, things would be more than interesting. Up to this point, Rick has been a filter for the entire narrative and the characters in it. With him out of the picture, the whole structure of the story would drastically change.

Season 9 has already been confirmed and the number of questions about what lies ahead makes the waiting period harder.