The virtual version of the annual San Diego Comic Con takes place this weekend and one of the major announcements concerns the immediate future of The Walking Dead series.
As viewers will remember, all but one episode of the most recent run (Season 10) was completed and broadcast in the spring. However the season finale still had work to do on it prior to the COVID-19 shutdown and the decision was made to delay broadcast until it was completely finished and everyone was satisfied it met the usual standards. We now know that the finale will be broadcast on AMC on 4th October with what is believed to be a major cliffhanger and a resolution to a lot of recent story-arcs. The date will also mark the first episode of the latest spin-off Walking Dead: World Beyond, featuring a new group of younger characters in a very different post-apocalyptic environment, which was also delayed from earlier in the year when it was due to immediately follow the finale.
Of course the next series of The Walking Dead would normally start in October, usually around the time of Hallowe’en, but nothing has been able to be shot so far, so it was no surprise that showrunner Angela Kang announced at the virtual SDCC@Home panel that it will be 2021 before any new episodes after the finale will make it to screen. However she also noted that the plan is to ultimately extend out Season 10 with six more episodes.
“Obviously COVID has disrupted a lot of things for every workplace, including ours,” Kang said during the talk. “The writers’ room for Season 11 has been going remotely the past few months. We haven’t been able to start production but we will get back to work as soon as we safely can. We will not be airing Season 11 episodes this year as we normally would in October, but we’re excited to announce an extended Season 10, where there will be six extra episodes to follow the finale. Those will likely run in early 2021 if all goes well. We’re working on those now, and will have more to share soon.”
In some ways the ‘extra’ episodes news sounds like posthumous semantics on a narrative level – it’s not clear how six additional episodes aired some time after a major cliff-hanger but still being referred to as Season 10 differs considerably from simply having the episodes labelled as the first half of a normal Season 11 (though it could mean that if COVID restrictions are lifted or eased, the plan is to film more episodes of The Walking Dead in 2021 than has been attempted before and returning it to the normal split-season either side of a Christmas season from the latter part of 2021 onwards.
The sixth season of spinoff Fear The Walking Dead will debut on 11th October, a week after the main show’s finale screening.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond teaser: