The Walking Dead has been going on for just shy of a decade now and adapted large chunks of the source comics’ lengthy narrative in the process. Despite the available material from which to draw being decidedly finite and ever-dwindling though, original creator Robert Kirkman is convinced the series can continue past the comics’ final ending.
In case you’re unaware (and don’t mind spoilers), the comics’ penultimate issue, #192, ended with the significant yet simultaneously unceremonious death of Rick, and the next issue acted as a surprise ending and coda to the sprawling saga by jumping forwards 25 years. The seeds of returning civilization were already beginning to flourish as the series approached its conclusion, and the final issue focused on Carl as he checked in with several surviving major characters and explored the new world that his father helped to build, fought to preserve and ultimately died to defend.
During a live Q&A session, Kirkman specified that the time jump left a lot of plot suggested rather than actually told, and put forward a few ideas that the series could use in a continuation.
“I will say that there’s a lot of implied story in the final issue, with the railroad meeting, and the colony to the West uniting with the colony to the East. There’s some general thoughts and notions that I have for that. If the television show ever gets to that point in the comic book series, and we decide to continue past that point, I’m kind of excited about the idea of telling a little bit more with older Eugene and Judge Michonne and the different things that were in the comic series that could have gone on, and we could have done more with. So that could be kind of neat.”
Of course, any adaptation of the final issue would greatly differ from the comics, as Carl was killed in season 8, so any viewpoint of a future would need to be from the perspective of someone else. The most likely candidate would be Judith, whose comics counterpart never made it past infancy, and whose experiences act as a parallel to those of Carl, with her now being the same age he was at the series’ beginning.
There’s no reason for The Walking Dead to not expand beyond the temporal parameters the comics set down. After all, its original inspiration was as a zombie movie that never ends, eschewing such films’ two typical dénouements of either everyone dying or the army turning up to take out the undead menace. There are a wealth of tales within its world, and as long as the viewing figures hold out, there’s no reason not to tell them.