There has been a lot of conversation over the last few years over Game of Thrones about what it will mean for the series when it overtakes George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire source material. When the HBO series began in 2011, George R.R. Martin was five books through the seven-book series. Now in 2016, George R.R. Martin is still five books into the seven-book series, and we still don’t have a particularly good sense of when the next book will come out. It’s a certainty, now that HBO is down to the last 21 episodes, that the series will finish before Martin does.
Thankfully, through the first two episodes of the sixth season, Game of Thrones hasn’t suffered. In fact, it’s never been more exciting.
Meanwhile, over on The Walking Dead, the entire series has been beholden to Robert Kirkman’s comic series since the beginning — nearly every memorable moment in the television series has come straight out of the comics. The series has its own writing staff, of course, but their job is mostly to adapt Kirkman’s source material and make it work on our television screens. The series has a few additional characters, but the events and storylines sync fairly well with Kirkman’s work. Without the comics, the series might be lost, although it would be interesting to see how the series would perform off-book.
Fortunately, that’s not something we will have to worry about anytime soon, although the last season of The Walking Dead may have given the comic fans some reason for concern after the television series tore through 25 issues of the comic in eight episodes (if the entire series had gone at that pace, we’d be nearly caught up with the comics now). However, according to Robert Kirkman in the letter hacks for the latest issue of the comics, it should not be an immediate worry. The series just hit the 100th issue of the comics, and it still has 54 more issues ahead of itself, and Kirkman obviously works at a much faster pace than George R.R. Martin.
Here’s what Robert Kirkman had to say about those concerns.
I can see how going from #75 to #100 in eight episodes may cause some concern. But the show does double back on the comic from time to time, like presenting the Billy and Ben plot in a new way. Plus, we’re still 54 issues ahead … or really, 54 and a half, since the cliffhanger interrupted the events of #100 …
Yeah, look at it this way … it took us 6 seasons to get to 100. It won’t take us 6 years to get to 200 and that will take us to season … TWELVE. And we’ll still be ahead of the show at that point.
And if the show is still going strong at season 12 … well, that would be about the most amazing thing ever … so we’ll all be too busy celebrating to worry about anything.
In other words: Overtaking the comics is not an immediate concern, or even a distant concern. Season 12 would put The Walking Dead into 2022, and by that point, we may all be living in a zombie apocalypse anyway. The Walking Dead will be less of an entertainment, and more of a guide to survival!