'The Walking Dead: The most epic speeches from Rick, Negan, Maggie, Michonne, more

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of  The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener. 

From the inspiring words of the rallying Rick and the defiant words of a Ricktatorial Rick to the narcissistic nattering of Negan and Maggie’s sweet shoutout to her late husband, The Walking Dead characters are almost never at a loss for words… sometimes lots of them. Here, a roundup of the series’ most epic speeches, some funny, some crushing, some encouraging, and some, OK, one, that managed to make us quake and giggle.

“We Are the Walking Dead”
“Them,” Season 5
Orator: Rick

Andrew Lincoln as Rick in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

With Rick and his group at one of their lowest points — no home, no food, and hope running low after the deaths of Beth and Tyreese — they finally find temporary shelter in a barn as they wait out a major storm. In an effort to motivate the gang to keep on fighting, Rick invoked the name of the series.

The Speech:

“When I was a kid, I asked my grandpa once if he ever killed any Germans in the war. He wouldn’t answer. He said that was grown-up stuff, so I asked if the Germans ever tried to kill him. But he got real quiet. He said he was dead the minute he stepped into enemy territory. Every day he woke up and told himself, ‘Rest in peace. Now get up, and go to war.’ And then after a few years of pretending he was dead, he made it out alive. That’s the trick of it, I think. We do what we need to do, and then we get to live. But no matter what we find in D.C., I know we’ll be OK, because this is how we survive. We tell ourselves that we are the walking dead.”

“That Was the Decision That Changed Everything”
“The First Day of the Rest of Your Life,” Season 7
Orator: Maggie

Tom Payne as Jesus and Lauren Cohan as Maggie in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

When Rick thanked Maggie for making the decision to join in with the Kingdom and ride to the rescue of the Alexandrians when they were being attacked by the Saviors in the Season 7 finale, she told him she was carrying on the good work and caring heart of Glenn, who brought the group together when he decided to help Rick get out of that military tank in downtown Atlanta all the way back in the series premiere.

The Speech:

“The decision was made a long time ago, before any of us knew each other, when we were all strangers who would have just passed each other on the street before the world ended. And now we mean everything to each other. You were in trouble, you were trapped. Glenn didn’t know you, but he helped you. He put himself in danger for you. And that started it all, from Atlanta, to my daddy’s farm, to the prison, to here, to this moment now, not as strangers, as family, because Glenn chose to be there for you that day a long time ago. That was the decision that changed everything. It started with both of you, and it just grew to all of us to sacrifice for each other, to suffer and stand, to grieve, to give, to love, to live, to fight for each other. Glenn made the decision, Rick. I was just following his lead.”

“He Was the First Person I Killed So That I Could Live”
“The Same Boat,” Season 6
Orator: Paula

Savior Paula was one tough apocalyptic cookie, and she told fellow warrior Carol — who was pretending to be fragile so the Saviors would underestimate her — how she got that way in this speech.

Alicia Witt as Paula in ‘The Walking Dead'(Photo: AMC)

The Speech:

“I was a secretary before. I fetched coffee for my boss and made him feel good about himself. I spent most of my days reading stupid inspirational emails to try and feel good about myself. There was this one that kept going around… a young woman was having a hard time and told her mom she wanted to give up, so her mom went to the kitchen and started boiling three pots of water. She put a carrot in one, an egg in another, and ground coffee beans in the last one. After they had boiled a while, her mom said, ‘Look, all three things went through the same boiling water. The carrot went in strong and came out soft. The egg was fragile and came out hard. But the coffee beans changed the water itself.’ You’re supposed to want to be the coffee beans. See, to me, coffee was just a thing that my boss would drink up. No matter how many times I refilled his damn cup, it was just never enough. I was at work when the Army took over D.C. We weren’t allowed to leave. They had to evacuate all the important people first: members of Congress, government employees, so I was stuck with my boss. Not my family, my husband, my four girls. My boss was weak and stupid, and he was going to die, and he was going to take me down, too. He was the first person I killed so that I could live. I stopped counting when I hit double digits. That’s right around the time I stopped feeling bad about it. I am not like you. I’m still me, but better. I lost everything, and it made me stronger.”

“You Step Outside, You Risk Your Life”
“Isolation,” Season 4
Orator: Hershel

Scott Wilson as Hershel in in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

Maggie and Rick tried to stop him, but as Hershel told them, he had a chance to save lives and lessen the suffering of the prison dwellers who had been infected with a potentially deadly virus. And that, he insisted, was worth any risk to his own life.

The Speech:

“Listen, damn it! You step outside, you risk your life. You take a drink of water, you risk your life. And nowadays, you breathe, and you risk your life. Every moment now, you don’t have a choice. The only thing you can choose is what you’re risking it for. Now, I can make these people feel better and hang on a little bit longer. I can save lives. That’s reason enough to risk mine, and you know that.”

“I See Red. Everything Is Red. Everything I See Is Red”
“Clear,” Season 3
Orator: Morgan

Lennie James as Morgan in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

When Rick found Morgan, his first friend after he woke up from his coma in the series premiere, Morgan was in an angry, dangerous state, devoting his life to “clearing” the town he was in — Rick’s old hometown — of walkers. He finally explained to Rick what had caused him to breakdown in this heartbreaking speech that is among many Emmy-worthy performances by Lennie James.

The Speech:

“I was supposed to kill her, my Jenny. Knew I was supposed to, but I let it go. Let it go like there wasn’t gonna be a reckoning. We was always looking for food. You know, it always came down to food. And I was checking out a cellar, and I didn’t want Duane to come down there with me. And then when I came up, she was standing there right in front of him, and he had his gun up, and he couldn’t do it. So I called to him, and he turned, and then she was just… just on him. And I see red. I see red. Everything is red. Everything I see is red. And I do it, finally. Finally was too late. I was supposed to. I was selfish. I was weak. You gave me the gun… people like you, the good people, they always die. And the bad people do, too. But the weak people, the people like me, we have inherited the Earth.”

“This Isn’t a Democracy Anymore”
“Beside the Dying Fire,” Season 2
Orator: Rick

Andrew Lincoln as Rick in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

Officially known by fans as “the Ricktatorship speech,” this is the Season 2 finale moment when Rick puts his thing down, letting his friends know that if they want him to continue taking on the burden of leadership, it’s now his way or the walker-infested highway.

The Speech:

“I am doing something! I’m keeping this group together, alive. I’ve been doing that all along, no matter what. I didn’t ask for this. I killed my best friend for you people, for Chrissake! You saw what he was like, how he pushed me, how he compromised us, how he threatened us. He staged the whole Randall thing, led me out to put a bullet in my back. He gave me no choice. He was my friend, but he came after me. My hands are clean. Maybe you people are better off without me. Go ahead… I say there’s a place for us, but maybe, maybe it’s just another pipe dream. Maybe I’m fooling myself again. Why don’t you go and find out yourself? Send me a postcard. Go on… there’s the door. You can do better? Let’s see how far you get. No takers? Fine. But get one thing straight: You’re staying, this isn’t a democracy anymore.”

“It’s Gonna Be Pee Pee Pants City”
“Last Day on Earth,” Season 6
Orator: Negan

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

This was Negan’s introduction to Rick’s group and viewers, and it was nothing short of unforgettable and devastating. And, OK, we would probably all agree, a little amusing in some places.

The Speech:

“Pissing our pants yet? Boy, do I have a feeling we’re getting close. Yep, it’s gonna be Pee Pee Pants City here real soon. Which one of you pricks is the leader? Hi, you’re Rick, right? I’m Negan. And I do not appreciate you killing my men. Also, when I sent my people to kill your people for killing my people, you killed more of my people. Not cool. Not cool. You have no idea how not cool that sh*t is, but I think you’re gonna be up to speed shortly. Yeah, you are so gonna regret crossing me in a few minutes. Yes, you are. You see, Rick, whatever you do, no matter what, you don’t mess with the new world order. And the new world order is this, and it’s really very simple, so, even if you’re stupid, which you very may well be, you can understand it. You ready? Here goes, pay attention: Give me your sh*t, or I will kill you. Today was career day. We invested a lot so you would know who I am, and what I can do. You work for me now. You have sh*t, you give it to me. That’s your job. Now, I know that is a mighty big, nasty pill to swallow, but swallow it you most certainly will. You ruled the roost. You built something. You thought you were safe. I get it. But, the word is out: You are not safe. Not even close. In fact, you are pegged, more pegged if you don’t do what I want. And what I want is half your sh*t. And if that’s too much, you can make, find, or steal more, and it’ll even out sooner or later. This is your way of life now. The more you fight back, the harder it will be. So if someone knocks on your door, you let us in. We own that door. You try to stop us, and we will knock it down. You understand? What, no answer? You don’t really think that you were gonna get through this without being punished, now, did you? I don’t want to kill you people. Just want to make that clear from the get go. I want you to work for me. You can’t do that if you’re dead, now, can you? I’m not growing a garden. But you killed my people, a whole damn lot of them, more than I’m comfortable with. And for that, for that, you’re gonna pay. So now, I’m gonna beat the holy hell outta one of you. This, this is Lucille, and she is awesome. All this is just so we can pick out which one of you gets the honor… [after Glenn yells at Negan not to hurt Maggie] Get him back in line. Listen, don’t any of you do that again. I will shut that sh*t down, no exceptions. First one’s free. It’s an emotional moment, I get it. Sucks, don’t it? The moment you realize you don’t know sh*t? This is your kid, right? This is definitely your kid. Hey, do not make me kill the little future serial killer. Don’t make it easy on me. I gotta pick somebody. Everybody’s at the table waiting for me to order. I simply cannot decide. I got an idea… eenie meenie miney mo, catch a tiger by his toe, if he hollers, let him go… my mother told me to pick the very best one, and you are it. Anybody moves, anybody says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father, and then we’ll start. You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that.”

“I Couldn’t Sacrifice One of Us for the Greater Good”
“This Sorrowful Life,” Season 3
Orator: Rick

Andrew Lincoln as Rick in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

And then there was the anti-Ricktatorship speech, when Rick told his friends it wasn’t all about him; he wanted their input, their votes, because it was only as a group that they continued to survive.

The Speech:

“When I met with The Governor, he offered me a deal. He said he would leave us alone if I gave him Michonne, and I was gonna do that to keep us safe. I changed my mind. But now Merle took Michonne to fulfill the deal, and Daryl went to stop him, and I don’t know if it’s too late. I was wrong not to tell you, and I’m sorry. What I said last year, that first night after the farm, it can’t be like that. It can’t. What we do, what we’re willing to do, who we are, it’s not my call. It can’t be. I couldn’t sacrifice one of us for the greater good, because we are the greater good. We’re the reason we’re still here, not me. This is life and death. How you live, how you die, it isn’t up to me. I’m not your Governor. We choose to go. We choose to stay. We stick together. We vote. We can stay and we can fight. or we can go.”

“I’d Like to Get to Know You a Whole Lot Better”
“Always Accountable,” Season 6
Orator: Abraham

Michael Cudlitz as Abraham in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

He had a way with the ladies, that dolphin smooth Abraham, and it was in his special, colorful Abraham way that he let Sasha know he had a thang for her.

The Speech:

“You see, I know this group, and I know Rick. And whatever happened back there is being managed and kicked right up into its own a** one way or another, I know that. We got beer and air conditioning and walls. The table is set for the rest of our lives, and I hope those years to be long and fruitful. I see that time before me, and I’ve been feeling the urge to make some plays before the great cosmic Pete comes to cut my throat unceremoniously, and I gurgle my last breath. Things are gonna go on for a while before that, and that hadn’t occurred to me before. I’ve been kind of living check to check on that point. I like the way you call bullsh*t, Sasha. I believe I’d like to get to know you a whole lot better.”

“We’re the Ones Who Live”
“Hearts Still Beating,” Season 7
Orator: Michonne

Danai Gurira as Michonne in ‘The Walking Dead’ (Photo: AMC)

After the murders of Glenn and Abraham and the ongoing torment by Negan and the Saviors, the only way Rick could see to keep his loved ones alive was to bend to Negan’s will and tamp down on his own hopes for an independent future for Alexandria. But in the midseason finale, Michonne reminded him of the leader, the fighting leader, he was, and that together, they were strong enough to face any challenge, even Negan and his minions.

The Speech:

“I found what I was looking for. I wanted to go with you and Aaron, but I couldn’t. I had to go my way. But when I found it, I realized I didn’t want it to be my way. I wanted it to be ours, me and you. There are more of them, even more than we thought… we are outnumbered. It’s not even close. But that doesn’t change the way that I feel, because it doesn’t change the way that things are. We’re still alive, Rick. So much has happened, so much that we shouldn’t have lived through, and in spite of it, or maybe because of it, we did. We’re still here, the two of us. We’re still standing, and we’re gonna keep standing. So, what do we do with that? How do we make that mean something? We’re the ones who get things done. You said that. We’re the ones who live. That’s why we have to fight, not for us, but for Judith, for Carl, for Alexandria, for the Hilltop… for all of us. We can fight them, Rick. We can find a way to beat them. We can do this. But only if we do this.”

The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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