The end is nigh for The Walking Dead, sort of.
The zombie apocalypse series based on Robert Kirkman’s comics is coming to an end in 2022 with an expanded 11th season.
However, fans of the once highest rated show on the small screen shouldn’t fret too much at the loss of the mother show. AMC has already given the go-ahead to a new TWD spinoff starring fan favorites Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride in their roles as Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier. Created by TWD showrunner Angela Kang and Deadverse chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, that as yet untitled series is scheduled to debut in 2023.
As was announced at this year’s coronavirus induced virtual Comic-Con, the pandemic delayed TWD Season 10 finale will now air as a special episode on October 4 with 10 additional episodes to air in 2021 for the current cycle. Tearing a page out of the playbook that AMC used for the end of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the 11th and final season of the once blockbuster TWD will run over two-years for a grand total of 24 episodes.
“It’s been ten years ‘gone bye;’ what lies ahead are two more to come and stories and stories to tell beyond that,” said Gimple of the show that debuted on Halloween 2010.
“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,” said Kang, who took over as TWD showrunner from Gimple at the start of Season 9. “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,” the EP added. “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.”
In addition to the upcoming Daryl and Carol series current spinoffs Fear the Walking Dead, starting its sixth season on October 11, and the October 4th premiering YA two-season long The Walking Dead: World Beyond, AMC and Gimple are developing a Tales of The Walking Dead anthology series. Episodic in format, Tales will likely focus on individual characters from the clearly expanding Deadverse, both new and old.
More TWD shows are in various stages of discussion too, I hear, though no indication that a Negan or Maggie Rheee series is one of them. Having exited TWD in 2018 for the broadcast network heights of ABC’s short lived Whiskey Cavalier, Lauren Cohan is returning as Maggie to TWD for the remainder of the Kirkman and Gale Anne Hurd EP’d show’s 10th and probably 11th season. The Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrayed Negan has shifted this current season from his murderous villain role to more of an elder statesman of the Survivors, a ripe move to a spinoff of his own perhaps. It is worth noting that besides a recently published Negan solo comic, Morgan and spouse Hilarie Burton hosted the TWD cast heavy six-episode virtual talkshow Friday Night in with the Morgans this summer on AMC.
Plus, with all that, there are still the trio of Rick Grimes big screen adventures, starring Andrew Lincoln, which are in the script stage at Universal.
In many ways, even as the series continues to be the biggest thing on AMC, the conclusion of TWD proper makes sense. For one thing, off-screen Kirkman suddenly wrapped up the TWD comics after 193 issues in 2019.
On-screen, leading man Lincoln left two years ago and now Marvel Universe regular Danai Gurira headed off stage, so to speak, in March of this year. While the door was never fully closed on Gurira’s Michonne character, who went looking for Grimes after the wounded one-time Sheriff’s Deputy was spirited off by a mysterious helicopter in the fifth episode of Season 9, it seemed pretty clear that the focus of the series had shifted to CAA repped Reedus and UTA repped McBride’s characters – even more so with both actors inking lucrative new contracts in recent years.
On another level, TWD will be heading into its final stretch as AMC finally heads to trial in April 2021 against show creator and original showrunner Frank Darabont and CAA in the latter’s 2013 launched $300 million profit participation lawsuit against the cabler. While that COVID-19 postponed trial inches closer, AMC scored a big legal win earlier this summer in ianother profit participation dust-up with Kirkman and other TWD EPs. After a mini-trial in March, LA Superior Court Judge Daniel Buckley determined on July 22 that if Kirkman didn’t like the “plain language” deal he inked years ago and the resulting Modified Adjusted Gross Receipts and imputed license fees, that was his problem, not AMC’s.
No appeal has been filed yet in that case, which moves on to another phase dealing with other non-contract issues in the next few months – which is a whole other type of anthology series of its own.