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Fear the Walking Dead vs. The Walking Dead: Exploring the Key Differences

Published on October 8th, 2023 | Updated on October 8th, 2023 | By FanFest

The Unique Journey of Fear the Walking Dead: From Prequel Origins to an Uncertain Future

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Fear the Walking Dead is gearing up for its eighth and final season, scheduled to make its return on May 14, 2023. Debuting back in 2015, the series initially sought to capitalize on the resounding success of its predecessor, The Walking Dead, which had firmly established itself as a flagship show for AMC. Prior to AMC venturing into expanding its popular Breaking Bad universe with the spin-off Better Call Saul, Fear the Walking Dead marked the network’s initial foray into extending the narrative of one of its signature series.

While Fear the Walking Dead may not have attained the same level of commercial or critical acclaim as its predecessor, it has still cultivated a dedicated fan base. It’s natural to question how distinct two zombie-centric series within the same franchise can truly be and what set Fear the Walking Dead apart from The Walking Dead. Below, we delve into the unique characteristics that differentiate these two series, despite their shared franchise origins.

Fear the Walking Dead’s First Three Seasons Are a Prequel

Fear the Walking Dead vs. The Walking Dead: Exploring the Key Differences
Photo Credit: Ryan Green/AMC

The initial allure of Fear the Walking Dead lies in its unique position as a prequel to The Walking Dead. This spin-off transports viewers back to a time before the events chronicled in The Walking Dead, offering a glimpse into the early stages of the infection and the world’s response to the emerging threat of Walkers. In The Walking Dead, the audience is thrust into the virus outbreak alongside Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), viewing it as a past event and embarking on a journey to uncover how the world reached its grim state. This revelation is as much a shock to the character as it is to the viewers.

During its first three seasons, Fear the Walking Dead takes on the role of an answer-provider, addressing some of the burning questions that have lingered since the inception of The Walking Dead. It allows audiences to witness the rapid transformation of the world and the pivotal events that contributed to the bleak landscape depicted in its parent series. However, starting with Season 4, Fear the Walking Dead undergoes a narrative shift, aligning itself more closely with The Walking Dead as a companion series. These two storylines now unfold concurrently.

Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead introduces a significant crossover character in the form of Morgan Jones (Lennie James), who previously appeared in The Walking Dead. This merger serves to unite the two series while offering a fresh perspective on the apocalyptic world. While The Walking Dead primarily explores the aftermath of a major tragedy and the efforts to rebuild society, Fear the Walking Dead initially delves into the disintegration of that very society. This dynamic shift adds a compelling layer to the overarching narrative of the Walking Dead universe.

Drastically Different Settings

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While The Walking Dead predominantly unfolds in the American South, specifically within the urban and forested landscapes of Atlanta, Georgia, Fear The Walking Dead charts a different course along the West Coast. This sister series kicks off its narrative in the bustling city of Los Angeles, California, before venturing into the stark terrains of Texas and Mexico. In stark contrast to the decaying beauty of Atlanta’s greenery juxtaposed with the walkers, Fear The Walking Dead thrusts viewers into sunnier realms, featuring vast deserts and barren lands. Here, the stark absence of life takes center stage, offering a striking departure from the lush backdrop of Atlanta’s decay.

Not Based on a Specific Comic Book

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The Walking Dead, as many may know, was a faithful adaptation of the Image Comics series of the same name, brought to life by the creative minds of Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. The comic made its debut in October 2003, and by the time the television series hit screens in 2010, it had already enjoyed a seven-year run, providing an abundance of source material for the show’s creators to work with. Fans who were well-versed in the original comic had a foundational understanding of the story’s trajectory. While the showrunners did introduce some significant deviations, there remained a guiding roadmap, offering a sense of anticipation regarding which characters might join the cast each season.

On the other hand, Fear the Walking Dead took a different route, existing as an entirely original creation within The Walking Dead universe. Serving as an extension of the flagship series, Fear the Walking Dead had no pre-existing source material to draw upon. This distinctive characteristic sets Fear the Walking Dead apart, making it akin to House of the Dragon in relation to Game of Thrones—the latter being the counterpart of The Walking Dead. Viewers delving into Fear the Walking Dead have no established frame of reference to predict what lies ahead, setting it in stark contrast to the more predictable trajectory of The Walking Dead.

Fear the Walking Dead Has an Uncertain Future

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Despite The Walking Dead concluding its final season in 2022 and Fear The Walking Dead slated to wrap up in 2023, the expansive franchise remains far from its demise. In 2022, the anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead made its debut, delving into individual narratives set within The Walking Dead universe. While three spin-off series have been confirmed, they all center around characters originating from The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead: Dead City” will immerse viewers in the struggles of Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as they navigate a post-apocalyptic New York City. “Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” will offer fans an intimate look at the beloved character Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) as he journeys through the undead-infested landscape of France. “The Walking Dead: Rick & Michonne” will bridge the narrative gap between Rick’s departure in Season 5 and Michonne’s farewell in the thirteenth episode of Season 10, exploring the romantic dynamics between the two characters.

‘The Walking Dead: Dead City’ is Making a Major Change to ‘The Walking Dead’ Franchise

While all these spin-off series promise to extend the adventures of The Walking Dead characters, there has been no official word regarding the fates of characters from Fear the Walking Dead. It’s possible that AMC is keeping any potential revelations under wraps until after the series concludes. However, the prevailing sentiment suggests that this might mark the culmination of the journey for many of these characters, with any further involvement in the franchise likely limited to cameo or guest appearances in the planned spin-off series.

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as seen on promo graphic


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