The Walking Dead‘s eleventh and final season is right around the corner. Later this month, the super-sized 24-part run will kick off with its first batch of eight episodes. With the introduction of the Commonwealth, season 11 will roughly adapt the final three volumes of the comic book series – New World Order, The Rotten Core and Rest In Peace. However, it’s also weaving in a wholly original storyline that’s not based on anything from the comics.
This is the threat of the Reapers, the latest group of crazed murderers our survivors are forced to face, with the masked-wielding killers having debuted in season 10C, which revealed that they’re old enemies of Lauren Cohan’s Maggie and want her dead. The Reapers don’t have any root in Robert Kirkman’s source material, so fans have no idea where this plotline is going.
Producer Denise Huth teased the Reapers arc while speaking during a Twitch livestream recently. The EP talked about how “exciting” it is to be able to introduce curveballs into the show that the fans aren’t expecting, as well as keeping them happy by remaining largely faithful to the comics
“One of the beautiful [things] about getting to adapt something is that the comic books will always be there. That story will always exist as Robert wrote it,” Huth said. “But as you’re doing a television series based on that, and the fact that we’ve gone so many years, we’re not in that early year headspace of, ‘Okay, we’ve got to do this, we’ve got to do this,’ because we knew those moments that the comic book fans really wanted. It allows us a little more opportunity to breathe and introduce some storylines that aren’t in the comic books, and that, I think, is always really exciting for us.”
Huth went on to add that “there’s no clear path” when it comes to adapting TWD for the screen. She clarified that, while the big, iconic moments from the comics will always be tackled, albeit with some differences, sometimes they like to work with “a complete clean slate”, as in the case of the Reapers.
Huth added, “We always change things up. You know this big thing’s going to happen [from the comics], but we’ll probably do it a little differently. But with something like the Reapers, it’s a complete clean slate. That’s exciting for us and the characters because they don’t know where it’s going either.”
Norman Reedus has previously described season 11 as “mind-blowing” and on a totally different scale from previous years. He teased that the run can be split up into two, with the first 10 episodes or so dealing with the Reapers while the rest after that tackling the Commonwealth storyline. He described the Reapers arc as like a “black and white western” while he called the second half “a technicolor Willy Wonka film.”
The Walking Dead season 11 premieres Sunday, August 22nd on AMC. AMC Plus subscribers can catch the first episode a week earlier from August 15th.