In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the man in charge of The Walking Dead Universe, Scott Gimple, and the showrunner for The Walking Dead, Angela Kang, gave a very in-depth interview regarding the future of The Walking Dead and the other shows and films.
The future of The Walking Dead for Season 11 takes its story from the last remaining story arc in the comic books. The major setting for this story centers around the community known as ‘The Commonwealth.’ This community, in the greater apocalypse, is almost an utopia of sorts but, like most things on The Walking Dead, all is not what it appears.
“The ‘Commonwealth’ story really touches on things I think are very relevant about class and about society. [Comic creator] Robert Kirkman really tapped into something that I think a lot of us are thinking about,” she said. “Obviously we’ve had to pivot to these other episodes that are part of the sort of Season 10 continuation bloc, and then for Season 11 there’s just these stories with themes that are meaningful to all of us.”
What we aren’t hoping for is The Walking Dead to turn into some sort of social commentary on the current state of world affairs. What has made the show successful is that it is not reality and that fans place themselves, when watching the show, in that setting, wondering what they would do if there was a real-life apocalypse. We already sit in a current world that is in social and political flux. We don’t need to imagine it too.
Before we get to Season 11, there will be an additional six episodes for Season 10 that will be done to accomodate the current social distancing standards. We are expecting these episodes to be deep dives into one or two characters per episode. According to a spokesperson who commented to the Los Angeles Times, “those six episodes, meant to form a bridge between Season 10 and 11, are “in pre-production now and hope to begin shooting very soon.””
“We’re being so, so safe about how we’re doing everything, and you know our normal show has, like, hundreds of extras and massive scope,” Kang said of the production restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“I’m excited to see the franchise grow in another direction, although it’s a really bittersweet time. I’ve spent the past decade working on the flagship show and I love these characters and I love this world and I love these stories,” Kang said,. “I just hope we can do justice to the story we’ve been telling.”
For his part, Gimple appears to relish one of the foremost challenges that comes with the franchise’s expansion: giving each title a distinct identity.
Here’s some additional quotes on other Walking Dead projects given to the Los Angeles Times:
“‘Fear the Walking Dead’ is a little weirder, a little quirkier. It has some stranger energy coursing through it and it allows them to tell, in some ways, some weirder stories. I think it also can get very, very comedic on that show, just the people who populate it.
“With ‘World Beyond’ …. they’re younger and they’re aware of the world, but they haven’t been out in the world. Their transformations are going to be pretty big. And it courses with a younger energy, younger issues, people who are yet to be defined and thus are defining themselves by the actions they take initially in that show and then the things that happen on the way.”
“World Beyond” plays at times like a teen drama, except all the characters have witnessed the apocalypse and might be eaten. It’s a very different kind of “Breakfast Club.” Gimple said the franchise’s stable of writers have long grown their characters from that harshly tilled but fertile soil.
“All the way back in Season 2, that research started with reading books like ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl,” he said, referring to the 1946 chronicle of Frankl’s experiences in Nazi concentration camps. “We did a lot of research on PTSD and how it affects people. I just heard a story yesterday about wartime correspondents and how PTSD affects them, and in some ways they are a forgotten population because they are observers. But PTSD affects people from what they’ve observed.
“It is all of their origin story in a lot of ways [despite] different ages, different experiences,” he added of “World Beyond.” “The passage they took to that place of safety forever changed them, forever set them on a course of things they have to overcome, handle, suffer through.”
As enthusiastic as he is about more imminent pathways for the franchise, Gimple is most excited when he talks about the in-development “Tales of the Walking Dead,” a proposed anthology show that has not yet been greenlit.
“The very charge of that show is being different … stories that we just couldn’t tell on any of the other shows. And to be different from each other, week to week. Some weeks, abject horror. Some weeks, black comedy. Different time periods in the apocalypse. Different kinds of characters. Some episodes that have one character and maybe a lot of dead people,” he said.
“And then there will be sprinklings of things that we are familiar with: characters that we’ve lost on the show and their past, seeing how they wound up in the situations [in which] they wound up, or the people that they wound up [as]. And there’s some interesting crossovers. There’s a few stories that are like, ‘Oh, wow, that affected that,’ ‘That person affected that; we never knew that.’ … Places or situations that affected our characters, we see how those came to be independent of our characters; with new characters.”
When it comes to the planned movies, though, Gimple carefully tempered his comments. He confirmed that multiple theatrical releases are planned, to “tell a story that continues,” and said if not for the pandemic, they’d have a much firmer idea when any of this would take place.
“I would say this: Movies take a long time. It’s been a cool process. Andy [Lincoln] has been deeply, deeply involved in it. Robert [Kirkman] is deeply involved in it. It’s slowly but surely coming together in a really, really cool way. But movies take longer than TV. … I probably should have told everybody that.”
What do you think of all of this new information regarding The Walking Dead projects? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!