The Walking Dead comes to an end after 11 seasons.
The final season will be a jam-packed, gore-filled 24 episodes, up from its traditional 16 episodes per season. It will also stretch out over two years as content chief Scott M. Gimple plots an exciting offshoot series. There are 30 remaining episodes of the series from creator Robert Kirkman that will air through late 2022.
In a nod to the pilot, Gimple reflected: “It’s been 10 years ‘gone bye’; what lies ahead are two more to come and stories and stories to tell beyond that.”
“What’s clear is that this show has been about the living, made by a passionate cast, team of writer-producers, producers and crew, bringing to life the vision put forth by Robert Kirkman in his brilliant comic — and supported by the best fans in the world. We have a lot of thrilling story left to tell on TWD, and then, this end will be a beginning of more Walking Dead — brand new stories and characters, familiar faces and places, new voices and new mythologies. This will be a grand finale that will lead to new premieres. Evolution is upon us. The Walking Dead lives.”
The decision to wrap up the series arrives as Ed Carroll, chief operating officer of AMC Networks, has taken on oversight of the cable group on an interim basis following the July 30 announcement that AMC Networks Entertainment Group and AMC Studios president Sarah Barnett was stepping down.
However, TWD fans need not despair – AMC also announced a Daryl-Carol spinoff series.
The untitled series, and the franchise’s third spinoff, is scheduled to launch in 2023. If that’s not enough, Gimple is also developing a scripted anthology series, Tales of the Walking Dead, that will feature individual episodes or arcs featuring new or existing characters, backstories or other stand-alone stories.
If Tales of the Walking Dead goes ahead, it would join spinoffs Fear the Walking Dead (its sixth season to premiere Oct. 11) and two-season limited series The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Oct. 4) as well as the Daryl-Carol entry. A trilogy of films built around Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln) are also in the works via Universal Pictures.
Interestingly, Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) and Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), who have been part of TWD since the very first season, inked significant deals with AMC in late 2018. The multiple-year pacts made included pay raises for both stars and covered three years of the franchise as a whole, meaning if their characters are written off of The Walking Dead and relocated to another property in the franchise, they would continue to get paid.
At the time, sources said Reedus would make $350,000 per episode on top of additional guarantees and advances in a deal that could be worth anywhere from $50 million to $90 million. McBride’s deal also scored a pay bump and an estimated $20 million over three years. These deals go beyond traditional series arrangements and allow both Reedus and McBride — who started as recurring in season one and have been regulars since season two when they made $8,500 per episode — to move freely among new projects in The Walking Dead universe.
“I’ve always enjoyed working so closely with Norman throughout these many seasons. In playing Carol, and as a viewer of the show, I’ve also long been intrigued with ‘Daryl and Carol,’ and by what so early on between them, even then, felt somehow bound,” McBride said. “Their shared history is long, and each’s own personal fight to survive, even longer — the more obvious aspect of what has kept them close and loyal. But there is also a rather mysterious aspect to their fondness for one another that I enjoy, and their playfulness when the world permits. I’m very curious! Angela has a way of shaking things up in great and unexpected ways. She’s like a kid playing with the dimmer switch! I’m very excited!”
AMC’s scripted roster currently includes the three Walking Dead shows, the upcoming sixth and final season of Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul, 61st Street and National Anthem, The Terror and Dispatches From Elsewhere.