The Walking Dead‘s tenth season premiered in October 2019 but, despite the finale airing on Sunday, it isn’t over yet. In order to fill the gap until the last run, we’re getting a six-episode season 10.5. It’s not known what this will be about, but the cliffhanger of last night’s installment offered a big hint as to where the characters are going next.
The outing saw Daryl conclusively end the Whisperer War by plunging two gigantic knives into Beta’s eyes and watching him be devoured by walkers. And as the episode concluded, we found Eugene’s group encountering a group of soldiers that look like nothing else we’ve seen. They were heavily armed and wearing hi-tech white and red armor (appearing not unlike Imperial Stormtroopers).
Fans of the comics will recognize them as members of the Commonwealth, a community numbering about 50,000 with access to advanced technology and extravagant wealth. Their society is structured in a class system decided by your job prior to the apocalypse. So, if you were a builder, you’d be lower class and if you were a lawyer you’d be upper class. This stratification causes tensions, though the community offers luxuries that others can’t including concerts, sports events and restaurants.
Executive producer Greg Nicotero gave a post-show interview about creating these new soldiers and had the following to say:
“First and foremost, the bulk of my work on The Walking Dead for 10 years has been zombies and gags and killing and murdering walkers and disembowelments. Then we got Shiva and that was a lot of fun because that was different. And then all of a sudden, when we started designing the Commonwealth armor, I think the thing that was challenging was taking Robert and Charlie’s artwork and adapting it. Because there are certain aspects of a human body that have to be able to move, but the way the armor was designed and drawn, we had to sort of adapt it to something that was three-dimensional and real. I was really, really excited about getting to make something different for the show. Something that KNB is really good at, but doesn’t get the opportunity to do it on the show.”
He then went on to discuss the logistics of shooting with them, explaining:
“Interestingly enough, about that scene, we only made eight of suits of armor and what we did was we cast somebody up at KNB, and then we sent the measurements to our casting people in Georgia and said, ‘You have to cast people that are this body size because it’s kind of a one size fits all scenario. So, we actually designed the armor to fit a certain body size and we 3D printed it and we sculpted a lot of it and then we molded it.
We made it out of the same material that we use when we did Predators and Alita: Battle Angel and something that is flexible, that looks painted and the gloss can be added to it. But when we shot that scene, we only had eight suits, but I wanted to make it feel like there was more, so we would lock the camera off and then have a couple of guys run in from one direction and then we cut and then we put the same eight guys come in from another direction. And when you put all those pieces together in one frame, it looks like there’s like 18 or 20 of them running at the group.”
If the final season of The Walking Dead is set within the Commonwealth, it’ll be fascinating to see our characters in a society that closely resembles the world before the apocalypse. Though given our heroes’ track record with drama, it’ll be interesting to find out what will inevitably go wrong soon after they show up.
Season 10.5 of The Walking Dead is scheduled for Spring 2021, but new episodes of Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead: World Beyond on Sundays will continue to scratch that undead itch for now.