After lasting over a decade, The Walking Dead will officially come to an end with season 11, and the decision makes sense from a creative standpoint. Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, the AMC series was originally developed by Frank Darabont. After being fired as the showrunner during the second season, Glen Mazzara took over the role before it went to Scott M. Gimple, and more recently, Angela Kang. The drama, which focuses on survivors of a zombie apocalypse, is set to debut its planned season 10 finale this October before broadcasting six bonus episodes in early 2021.
When The Walking Dead first premiered in 2011, it followed sheriff's deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as the leader of a group of survivors during the early days of a zombie apocalypse. Along with his family, Rick led the group from spot to spot on the search for a safe haven. Not only did they have to deal with the threat of walkers, but Rick's group also had a tendency to encounter sadistic humans such as The Governor and Negan. Though Rick lost a lot of people over the years, he found several viable allies like Daryl, Michonne, and Maggie.
Despite the fact that Rick's arc ended in The Walking Dead season 9, the series moved on without him. Other characters have since been thrust into the spotlight, but there's been an obvious lack of legacy characters. Though viewership has been on the decline, The Walking Dead still stands as a cable TV hit. Rather than serving as a cancellation, ending the flagship series is being deemed more of a purely creative decision. In addition to AMC's public announcement, the network has shared plans to subsequently expand the fictional universe as a way to move on to fresher stories.
The Walking Dead Universe Will Keep Expanding
According to AMC, The Walking Dead season 11 will get the supersize treatment, featuring 24 episodes instead of the typical 16. This, in addition to the six bonus episodes, means that there are 30 more Walking Dead episodes left before the series officially comes to a close. As for when that will be, the network stated that the extended season will run through late 2022. Setting this plan gives the series ample opportunity to tie up loose ends while possibly steering in the direction of Kirkman's comic book ending. The comic series, which suddenly ended in 2019, laid the foundation for a satisfying ending but the TV show will need to make some adjustments to find a similar conclusion.
Along with the plans to end the flagship series, AMC announced that a spinoff focused on Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier was in development with eyes on a 2023 debut. Fan-favorite actors Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride would be reprising their roles for a series with Kang at the helm. Gimple will also look to expand the franchise even further with an anthology series, Tales of the Walking Dead, featuring new and existing characters.
These spinoffs come on the heels of Fear the Walking Dead, the original show's first spinoff, which premiered in 2015 and is currently heading into its sixth season. This October will also see the arrival of The Walking Dead: The World Beyond, a limited series expected to connect to the others. Aside from those projects, AMC will continue Rick's arc through feature films. With all of the new plans set in place, it sure looks like the network and creative minds are ready to leave the flagship series behind to dive into other avenues within The Walking Dead universe.