AMC has assembled Emmy-nominated six-part short-form series The Walking Dead: Red Machete into a complete 15-minute video. The digital series originally aired in-between commercials throughout The Walking Dead Season Eight.
Red Machete explores the journey of the red-handled machete eventually wielded by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) used to brutally slaughter Terminus leader Gareth (Andrew J. West) in St. Sarah’s Church early on in The Walking Dead Season Five.
Before making its way into Rick’s blood-soaked hands, the machete passed from person to person, even once coming into the possession of Claimers leader Joe (Jeff Kober) — who met his own gruesome end during a run-in with Rick in the back half of Season Four.
“This was something that was two years in the making. It was a narrative that [executive producer and Walking Dead Chief Content Officer] Scott Gimple wanted to be told,” Red Machete director Avi Youabian told Deadline.
“He essentially said, ‘Give me an episode that is not a Walking Dead episode, but something that lives in the same universe.’ We pitched multiple versions to Scott and ultimately [writer] Nick [Bernardone] cracked a killer story that was a purely visual narrative. It was a story that was challenging in that we didn’t have any dialogue at our disposal.”
Red Machete is the latest in a line of short-form Walking Dead stories birthed out of the zombie-ridden universe, which previously expanded with multi-season spinoff Fear The Walking Dead. Past webisode series include Torn Apart, Cold Storage and The Oath, accompanying the first three seasons of The Walking Dead, with the 16-part Flight 462 and Passage airing in-between episodes of Fear.
“I think people want to see more flavor that they don’t quite get to see on [The Walking Dead],” Bernardone said.
“For example, the show takes place in Atlanta and D.C., and there’s obviously certain types of folks that we’ll come across around there, but this [virus] to our understanding, is happening all across the country, if not the world. I think viewers all across the world want to see different demographics and different types of people that maybe we wouldn’t come across on the show — and more bite-size stories.”
The pair said short-form stories could feature “a little bit more connectivity to the show universe,” saying future installments could focus on killed-off characters and characters who were little-seen in the show before their deaths.
The series is nominated in the Outstanding Short Form Comedy or Drama Series category at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, airing September 17 on NBC.
Fear The Walking Dead Season Four airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. The Walking Dead Season Nine premieres Sunday, October 7.