AMC announced last September that they were developing a spin-off to television’s most popular drama, The Walking Dead, probably in order to stem the bleeding after a series of failed and underwhelming series’ launches (including, most recently, Halt and Catch Fire, which is on pace to have record-worst ratings for the network’s drama fare). Since the announcement, we haven’t actually learned that much about the series, but this is what we know so far:
1. The series is expected to debut sometime in 2015. There is no hurry, according to Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple: “What we want to do is not diminish the mothership. What we want to do is find something that everyone involved feels as passionately about as being a unique vehicle and unique enterprise as compared to the original series. We’ll take our time, and we’ll do it right.”
2. According to Robert Kirkman, the series is completely untethered to the comic-book that acts as source material for the main show. “For the TV spinoff, I’m coming up with that stuff. It’s unrelated to the comics. What’s happening in issue 127 is in no way connected to the spin-off TV show.”
3. In March, AMC announced that Dave Erickson would be the showrunner for the spin-off. Erickson has written 17 episodes of Sons of Anarchy and worked previously as a writer on Canterbury’s Law. He’ll be working alongside Robert Kirkman and Gale Anne Hurd on the new series. (In addition to being a great television exec, did you know that Gale Anne Hurd has been married to James Cameron, Brian DePalma, and Jonathan Hensleigh (who wrote Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Jumanji, and Armageddon).
4. It’s not technically a spin-off, since none of the characters from The Walking Dead are expected to appear in the series. It’s more like a companion series.
5. The show will take place in The Walking Dead universe, but it will be set somewhere else completely, and involve an entire new set of characters, as Kirkman told IGN: “It definitely won’t be set in Georgia – I can at least say that. It’s important to us that this show exists on its own. The spinoff has to be a show worthy of existing, or else we’ve all sold out. So that’s something we’re all working hard towards doing, and I think we can pull it off. I think that the ideal situation is, when you’re watching the spinoff, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is a really awesome show.
6. However, showrunner Scott Gimple has not ruled out the possibility of some cross-over. From Collider:
I have little to do with the spinoff … This I do know. It’s set in the world of The Walking Dead but from what I understand, it’s not like Daryl’s cousin or anything … I would never say never [to a crossover between the shows] because if I was a viewer I would say that sounds awesome. But we’re doing our own show.
I also think a crossover might be tough because it would take a lot of [license] within the comic story. We’ll see. When we get to all-out war, who knows? We’ll add another faction. It’ll be the Saviors and the Hilltop and the ‘Spin-offers’.
And that, so far, is all we know. More details, of course, as they come.