AMC and Scott Gimple shook up the entire The Walking Dead universe a few weeks ago by announcing the end of the long-running series. There’s only one season left, but it’s been expanded, and additional episodes have been added to the series’ tenth season, so there will be actually be 30 more episodes. The series itself will not end until late 2022.
In the meantime, AMC will also begin airing the limited series spin-off, The World Beyond, next month, which will also run for two years. The Walking Dead and The World Beyond are likely to converge with the Rick Grimes’ movie around the CRM storyline, which will also tie into Fear the Walking Dead. After the The Walking Dead series finale, the series will spin-off Daryl and Carol into their own show.
The reasons are myriad, but it mostly comes down to money. In the meantime, while most of the attention regarding the future of The Walking Dead has been centered on the Daryl and Carol spin-off, less has been said about the announced The Walking Dead anthology series, Tales of The Walking Dead. We don’t have too many details about it, but Scott Gimple has been teasing the idea of that series for quite a while. He mentioned the idea last year to Deadline, and Gimple has been very high on the stand-alone nature of some of the episodes of Fear the Walking Dead. In fact, this upcoming sixth season of Fear may provide more inspiration for the anthology series, as this season is expected to base each of its episodes around a small number of characters. (Exec producer and special-effects guru Greg Nicotero also has some experience with anthologies, as he’s running the reboot of Creepshow for Shudder).
The anthology series, in fact, could be akin to the self-contained episode of Fear where June and John met and fell in love, which — to its credit — was one of the better episodes of the series. Gimple says that Tales of The Walking Dead will be built around new and existing characters, which means that even though The Walking Dead is ending, we may continue to see more than just Daryl and Carol in the future. Lauren Cohan has already teased a Maggie Rhee spin-off, which could be limited to a season of the anthology series focused on Maggie after the events of The Walking Dead. Likewise, AMC would be wise to use the anthology to produce the Negan origins story. Gimple once also mentioned another possibility: A Cast Away-like limited series focused on one single character trapped alone in the zombie apocalypse.
The series could even return to some of the deceased characters on the show and explore their backstories, or cover their lives before they entered The Walking Dead. They could, for instance, explore Ezekiel’s life as a zookeeper with a particular focus on what exactly prompted him to take on The King persona. AMC could dig more into Woodbury and The Governor. Or maybe the anthology series could even revisit Terminus and those cannibals. Point is, there are a lot of existing characters that might warrant anything from one episode to a full season, and maybe one or two of those stand-alone stories on Tales of the Walking Dead gains enough popularity to earn its own spin-off. There are a lot of past cast members of The Walking Dead who are probably wondering right now if they might get another shot at TWD fame.
In other words: The Walking Dead isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As long as there is an audience for it, AMC will continue to produce episodes.