Many fan favorite characters on The Walking Dead left the series far too soon, but we may not have seen the last of them yet. Still going strong after nearly ten full years on the air, The Walking Dead: franchise continues to expand with the premiere of a second spin-off series this spring, introducing different characters to tell new stories from the Walking Dead universe. According to chief content officer and former showrunner Scott M. Gimple, this just scratches the surface of all of the mythology that there is to explore in franchise, and other television projects could even bring back memorable characters from past seasons.
"We really do want to come out with different TV formats, meaning shorter things, and then some event series, limited event series," Gimple explains in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. Noting that this opens the door for all kinds of possibilities, Gimple says this also means we could see a Walking Dead prequel series focusing primarily on one or more deceased characters. "It's awesome to be able to play with characters that we've lost, and it's awesome to fill in some of the blanks," Gimple said of filling in the backstories for various characters, including those previously killed off on The Walking Dead.
This news might intrigue some former fans of The Walking Dead who've lost touch with the show within the past couple years. After reaching its second-highest viewed episode with the premiere of season 6, The Walking Dead began to see its audience departing the series literally by the millions. Although critical reception for the series has actually improved, the good reviews have done little to bring viewership for the zombie drama back up, and the show is certainly nowhere near as popular as it once was. Still, AMC insists there's no end in sight for the franchise, and despite dwindling ratings, the show remains one of television's most-watched programs.
Perhaps saying goodbye to a few too many fan favorites played a large role in turning off millions of former Walking Dead fans. When Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) were both controversially beaten to death by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) at the start of season 6, The Walking Dead viewership immediately dropped by around five million viewers. Clearly, many fans of the show had given up right then and there, and for many others, killing off Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) in the next season would become their stopping point.
A limited event series would be a great way to revisit some of these dead characters. Because of their eventual fate, a show centered on a former Walking Dead character could only go for so long, but it could still serve to tell an interesting story about some of the people we've met in the series whom we never thought we'd see again. Bringing back Yeun for another run as Glenn immediately comes to mind as a great idea for a spin-off, but the possibilities are endless when thinking of other past characters like Merle, Denise, Tyreese, The Governor, Sasha, Axel, Andrea, Dale, or even the show's villain - Shane Walsh.
For now, fans of the series can look forward to new episodes of all three AMC shows in the franchise. The Walking Dead will return with its midseason 10 premiere on Feb. 23. Fear the Walking Dead will follow with the premiere of season 6 on Aug. 11, 2020. The Walking Dead: World Beyond is also set to air sometime this spring, though an official release date hasn't yet been revealed by AMC. This news comes to us from Entertainment Weekly.