It’s taken five seasons for The Walking Dead to be awarded its own spinoff show, and in the short space of time since its announcement, it’s only gone and snagged a two season order from AMC! With the pilot in the can, the creative team ushering it to the screen are revelling in drip-feeding hints to the show’s loyal legion of followers. One such figure is Robert Kirkman, the creator of the original comic and the TV series, who took to the stage this weekend at SXSW to discuss the companion series.
During a Creative Activism panel, Kirkman was asked how the new series would slot into the pre-existing world of The Walking Dead. He confirmed – as suspected – that the show would not be based on any material from the comics, and addressed the ‘prequel’ tag:
It’s not going to relate to the comics at all. From the beginning of the show one thing we’ve heard is, ‘What’s going on over here or there.’ So the intent of the new show is to expand that world and show another corner of the United States and what’s happening there.
The timeline is taking place a little bit earlier timeframe than the original show. Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and was like, ‘Oh, man, zombies, weird!’ We’re going to possibly see that unfold a little more in the other show. But I wouldn’t call it ‘prequel’ because the entirety of the show is not going take place before [The Walking Dead]. It will eventually form a path running concurrently.
The chance for backstory fill-ins is a strong possibility, if the show will open up before TWD’s timeline. The inciting event of the zombie apocalypse hasn’t been a focal point for the show thus far, as the characters’ continued fight to survive has instead been the main narrative thrust.
Having the two shows present parallel stories is definitely an intriguing concept, purely because this would involve a certain degree of fast-forwarding for the companion series. But, that’s not to say the spinoff will catch up just to brush up against the main show. Kirkman made it clear that the kinda-prequel will stand on its own two feet:
“One thing that we’re doing with the new show that we’re trying with everything is it’s not derivative. It’s standing on its own. You can watch it by itself and get your own experience. But if you are watching both shows there are things like, ‘Oh they discovered this, or they discovered that in a different way.’
There are a lot of things about The Walking Dead world these characters have to learn or figure out to get by. And there may be some things that are discovered in the companion show that haven’t been discovered in the other show yet.
So there could be like a thing where, ‘Oh, they encountered a zombie in season 4 in The Walking Dead that could do this and now we know why that was.’ So we’re going to be doing things like that are going to be pretty cool, but for the most part [the two shows] should be able to stand alone.”
Starring Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Carey, The Walking Dead spinoff will arrive on the small screen this summer.