It wouldn’t be Comic-Con, at home or otherwise, without The Walking Dead. The AMC series has had a presence at the convention for the past 11 years, always drawing a massive and passionate crowd. Of course, the show is now sparked a full-fledged franchise: Fear the Walking Dead is set to premiere its sixth season and the second spin-off, The Walking Dead: World Beyond, will arrive later this year.
Here’s what you need to know from the trio of Comic-Con at Home panels dedicated to the three shows, including the surprising status of The Walking Dead season 10.
The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead, AMC’s flagship series and the parent show of the entire extended television franchise, has had a rough year. Although the season was finished before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down film productions all over the world, season 10 ran into other problems. Ongoing events made it impossible to complete post-production on the season finale, which meant the season ended with an unintentional cliffhanger.
However, the show’s Comic-Con at Home panel opened with good news for fans: the long-delayed season 10 finale has been completed and will air on October 4, 2020 on AMC. It will be immediately followed by the series premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond.
This was followed by some bad news: due to the pandemic, season 11 will not premiere later this year. Even though the writers room has reassembled and has been working remotely for several months, it has proven impossible to prepare production to relaunch safely to meet that date. But showrunner Angela Kang revealed a silver lining. Instead, the show will produce six more episodes for season 10, making this a super-sized season. These additional episodes will air in early 2021, “if all goes well.” This means The Walking Dead season 11 may arrive in late 2021, with these additional episodes tiding fans over until then. Kang promised to share more soon.
The panel itself was light on details beyond amusing chatter among the cast. However, the panel did debut a few minutes from the season finale, which you can watch in the player above. The footage picks up shortly after the events of episode 15, which saw our heroes either on the run or under siege by a massive army of walkers and Whisperers. Things look really, really bad for just about every member of the cast, but hey, that’s pretty standard for The Walking Dead.
Fear the Walking Dead
While the first spin-off series may have seemed like more of the same at first, no one would accuse Fear the Walking Dead of re-heating the same zombified leftovers at this point. After semi-rebooting itself a few years ago, the show has found its identity. And during the show’s Comic-Con at Home panel, which saw showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss, executive producer Scott M. Gimple, and various members of the cast assemble remotely, everyone leaned into the series trying something new.
The producers teased an anthology structure to season 6, with each episode telling its own self-contained story about a few characters in a single situation or circumstance. Although the show has developed a western vibe since season 4, the new season will play around with genre, jumping between style and tone in each episode to best serve the one-off story they’ll be telling. Gimple even described the new season as “16 little movies.”
Once it was noted that the trailer released a few months back featured one character with extended beard growth, the producers grew tight-lipped. But they let one thing slip – there will be a time jump this season. In fact, Gimple went a little further: “There might be time jumps.” Emphasis on the plural.
The bulk of the panel was dedicated to the actors reflecting on their characters’ decisions and pondering what could come next. When pressed for details about newcomers to the show, the producers confirmed that there would be new faces and names, but wouldn’t get specific.
It’s unknown when the second half of Fear the Walking Dead season 6 will go before cameras. The first half was mostly completed before it was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the rest of the season is fully written. So now, it’s just a matter of waiting until they get the go-ahead to resume safely.
Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead premieres October 11, 2020 on AMC.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond
Since The Walking Dead: World Beyond hasn’t even premiered yet, the Comic-Con at Home panel was a lot of sizzle and not much steak. The biggest highlight was the new trailer (which you can watch above), which showcases the spin-off’s unique premise.
The series (which is set to run for two seasons before reaching a definitive conclusion) begins 10 years after the zombie apocalypse began and follows a cast of young characters who grew up in this world and never knew pre-undead civilization. As executive producer Scott M. Gimple said: “[In The Walking Dead] Rick woke up after a two week coma to find the world had changed. These two sisters [the stars of World Beyond] don’t wake up from a coma, but they wake up from the way they were looking at life.”
The young cast of World Beyond live in a safe community and are armed with intellectual knowledge of the dangerous world beyond their walls – they have grown up learning how to kill zombies and survive in a nasty situation. However, the still-mysterious plot forces them to venture out into the dangerous world to do “something heroic” on a cross-country quest. All of the skills they have been told about, that they understand in theory, will be put to the test.
The trailer shows off this community, which looks very much like our own world…as long as you don’t look over the walls at the devastation beyond. We even see glimpses of a holiday called “Monument Day,” described as tribute to “the night the sky fell.” Showrunner Matt Negrete described this a day of reflection to remember the people everyone lost 10 years earlier. However, the panel also suggested that this seemingly happy community may have an authoritarian streak, which could suggest why the characters need to embark on their heroic mission.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond will arrive on October 4, 2020 on AMC.