AMC renewed Fear the Walking Dead for its seventh season earlier this week, which might have felt like a surprise two months ago — before the debut of season six — but now feels inevitable given the creative resurrection of the series. It felt all the more inevitable when AMC announced that the 11th season would be the last for The Walking Dead meaning that, theoretically, the spin-off could outlast the original. Indeed, Fear could be the SVU to Law and Order, a spin-off that outlasts the original.
There’s still a long way to go to get there, and with The Walking Dead ending and AMC ordering up two more series from the same universe, a Carol and Daryl spinoff, plus Tales of the Walking Dead, AMC could decide to pull the plug on the series in its seventh season and go out on a creative high. Should AMC decide that the 7th season be the last for Fear, it would actually be a great time to bring back Madison Clark, an original Fear character played by Kim Dickens, who was “killed off” in the fourth season.
Although Madison wasn’t actually very popular with fans when she was on the series, killing her off has proven to be the most unpopular move (among many) executed by Andrew Goldberg and Ian Chambliss, the showrunners who replaced the OG showrunner Dave Erickson in the fourth season.
Fans may recall that Erickson had loosely mapped out Fear the Walking Dead through the seventh season, envisioning that it would end there with a surprising villain: Madison Clark. She’d become a Governor-like figure. Killing her off in season 4, however, made that impossible.
Or did it?
There has been speculation since she left that Madison could return, and both the series itself and fans have hyped that possibility. In fact, some Fear recappers hyped a Madison Clark “Easter egg” in the midseason finale, which turned out to be little more than a mention by Madison’s daughter, Alicia, of the stadium where Madison “allegedly” died.
That said, while it felt like Madison’s return had been foreclosed, both the showrunners and the chief architect of The Walking Dead universe, Scott Gimple, have lately been suggesting just such a possibility. In fact, Ian Goldberg has not only teased the possibility of Madison returning but that she might have been the mysterious person who saved Morgan in the season premiere. “There’s always a chance. There’s always a chance,” he told ComicBook.com.
I’d still be skeptical of that possibility, save for the fact that Scott Gimple has also teased the possibility of Madison’s return in an interview with The Insider:
“I believe that not only within ‘Fear,’ but just within the greater ‘Walking Dead’ universe, there’s absolutely a chance that we could see Madison. There’s a lot of narrative possibilities that we’re exploring and then certainly, you know, [we] got to work it out with everybody involved and Kim Dickens is a very, very busy person. But I think it’s entirely possible.”
That sounds like more than a possibility. That sounds like it’s actively being discussed. I suspect that would come as very welcome news to the other two original cast members, Alycia-Debnam-Carey and Colman Domingo, who have openly mourned the loss of Dickens over the last couple of years. Dickens was last seen in USA Network’s Briarpatch, which was canceled after one season, so Dickens may very well be available to return for the seventh season, if not sooner.
The back half of Fear the Walking Dead continues to shoot in Texas. No airdate has been set for its return.