Why Is 'The Walking Dead' Returning So Late?

The Walking Dead will return for the back half of its eighth season a bit later than usual by comparison to earlier seasons but there may be a reason for the delay.

The AMC zombie drama typically returns over the weekend closest to Valentine's Day. In fact, Season 8's return date of February 25, 2018, is the latest since Season 4's February 16 return back in 2013. Season 7 returned to air its remaining episodes on February 12. The Season 8 return is nearly a full two weeks later than the traditional date.

While some fans are holding out hope for creative decisions to be altered following backlash regarding the impending death of Carl Grimes (50,000 of which have signed a petition on the subject), the AMC series has already filmed each of its returning episodes and will not have the ability to change any of the storyline. One thing they can control, however, is the gap between The Walking Dead and its sibling series Fear the Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead might be getting its late start in order to shorten the gap between the flagship zombie drama and its sibling series which will feature Walking Dead original character Morgan Jones in its upcoming fourth season. With The Walking Dead set to conclude on April 15, Fear the Walking Dead might return on April 22 having begun production earlier this fall.

With Morgan Jones set to head straight from The Walking Dead Season 8 finale to Fear the Walking Dead's Season 4 premiere, what better way to keep fans interested in continuing Morgan's story than having it unfold only one week later?

Season 2 of Fear the Walking Dead directly followed The Walking Dead's Season 6 finale, airing on April 10, 2016. Season 1, which only ran for six episodes, lead into the Season 6 premiere, beginning on August 23, 2015 and concluding on October 4, 2015, with season 3 also appearing to lead up to The Walking Dead's new season, concluding on October 15, 2017, exactly one week before the original show's Season 8 premiere.

Should the sibling series be deep enough into production, it may well begin one week after The Walking Dead's Season 8 concludes, serving as a continuation of the story in the form of Morgan's collision with Madison and company.

"The things that the writers are doing with Morgan and the way that they're navigating, it's not really a spoiler alert, but the way that Morgan transitions through the crossover is really, really interesting," James said. "The springboard that goes from The Walking Dead to Fear is a real... He goes with some kind of trajectory. It is a full, well-thought out journey that Morgan goes on. A lot of it is tied to his relationship with Rick. A lot of it is tied to his relationship to this group of people that he feels conflicted about caring for and wanting to protect."

Also worth considering, however, are the pair of delays production of The Walking Dead's eighth season experienced. Over the summer, the AMC series had to halt production when stuntman John Bernecker lost his life after a tragic accident on set. Later, the series would delay its work due to a hurricane coming through Georgia. Neither delays lasted more than a couple of days but may have been enough to keep the show from being ready for a Valentine's Day weekend return.

The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.

The Walking DeadSunday at 9PM EST on AMC

The Walking Dead

The Walking DeadSunday at 9PM EST on AMC

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