When The Walking Dead comic abruptly ended last year many started musing if the television series based on it would also have its days numbered. However the AMC show has been getting top numbers for a lot of its run and, narratively, is still quite behind the comic version (and has firmly established its own continuity with some different characters and/or their fates so far). But all good things, even undead ones, must indeed come to an end and today AMC announced plans that will bring the series to a close.
But let’s look at how that will play out.
The finale for Season 10 of The Walking Dead was delayed when there wasn’t enough time to top-and-tail the post-production to reach its air date because of the COVID pandemic- so the show finished that run a week earlier than planned. The bonafide finale is now going to be broadcast on 4th October. AMC has already noted that though there are still on-going delays and restrictions for filming in Atlanta, their current plan is to film another six episodes which they hope to bring to air in the first half of 2021. The new announcement confirms that the show would then return, as relatively normal, for the first half of its next run on October 2021. However instead of splitting a 12-14 episode run in half, the final ‘season’ of the show will run to a mammoth 24 episodes…. again split into two sections of 12 a piece…. which means that even given the unintended gaps and extensions to schedule, there will be significantly more episodes and the end of The Walking Dead won’t hit screens until some time in 2022.
On top of this, AMC have also said that they intend to launch two further spin-offs. One – planned for 2023 – would feature Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), the only two remaining characters from the first season and two of the most popular characters throughout the run to date (which would seem to confirm their survival in the ‘mothership’ show). The other would be a anthology show, Tales of the Walking Dead, spotlighting characters from past eras of the show or new characters within the same ‘mythology/universe’).
“In playing Carol, and as a viewer of the show, I’ve… long been intrigued with Daryl and Carol and by what so early on between them, even then, felt somehow bound. Their shared history is long, and each’s own personal fight to survive, even longer — the more obvious aspect of what has kept them close and loyal. But there is also a rather mysterious aspect to their fondness for one another that I enjoy, and their playfulness when the world permits,” said McBride in a statement.
Reedus agrees, noting: “Daryl’s relationship with Carol has always been my favorite relationship on the show — sorry, Rick. I love the way these characters interact and relate to each other on so many levels and can’t wait to see where their ride goes from here.”
Echoing the title of the first episode of both the comic and the show, franchise co-ordinator Scott Gimple said in a formal announcement…
“It’s been 10 years ‘gone bye;’ what lies ahead are two more to come and stories and stories to tell beyond that. What’s clear is that this show has been about the living, made by a passionate cast, team of writer/producers, producers, and crew, bringing to life the vision put forth by Robert Kirkman in his brilliant comic — and supported by the best fans in the world. We have a lot of thrilling story left to tell on TWD, and then, this end will be a beginning of more Walking Dead — brand new stories and characters, familiar faces and places, new voices, and new mythologies. This will be a grand finale that will lead to new premieres. Evolution is upon us. The Walking Dead lives”
“I look forward to digging in with our brilliant writers, producers, directors, cast and crew to bring this epic final chapter of Robert Kirkman’s story to life for our fans over the next two years. The Walking Dead flagship series has been my creative home for a decade and so it’s bittersweet to bring it to an end, but I could not be more excited to be working with Scott Gimple and AMC to develop a new series for Daryl and Carol. Working with Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride has been a highlight of my career and I’m thrilled that we get to keep telling stories together,” agreed showrunner Angela Kang – who will also helm their spin-off.
Of course, there are already existing spin-offs…. Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: Worlds Beyond (the latter to debut this October and set for a limited run of two seasons – perhaps setting up more mythology and connective tissue for future projects, including the proposed Rick Grimes tv movie which is still in development). There’s also the PS4 Virtual Reality game The Walking Dead: Onslaught released this year.
It seems you can’t keep a good zombie (franchise) down for long…