‘The Walking Dead’: Could Second Spinoff Go International?

AMC on Thursday announced plans for a second Walking Dead spinoff now in active development at the network, which could explore the zombie apocalypse overseas for the first time.

Creator Robert Kirkman previously hinted at the possibility in a 2018 Q&A session, when he acknowledged a foreign-set series is “something we’ve discussed from time to time.”

Though Kirkman confirmed he has no plans to expand the comic book side of the franchise beyond the US — the action is primarily set in Virginia, sometimes dipping into the surrounding states of Ohio or Pennsylvania — the writer-producer added he “wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually do something internationally in the TV space.”

The first Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, stepped outside the United States for a time when its characters fled Los Angeles for Mexico.

Center for Disease Control scientist Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) in a Season One episode of the flagship series referenced France and other countries when he told Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) the world’s countries went dark one by one, including Russia, which left a cosmonaut stranded in space as revealed by a radio encounter Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) had with the doomed Russian in a Season Three episode of Fear.

In 2014, while in development on Fear, Kirkman admitted he regretted the mothership series’ CDC episode because its content matter was “very much not of The Walking Dead world.”

“I’ve been careful in the comic series to not say what’s happening in other parts of the world,” Kirkman told THR.

“It’s something that’s going to be fun to explore in the spinoff series [Fear]. But the fact that France is mentioned in that episode and other things like that, I probably would have steered away from that stuff if I had to do it all over again.”

But with chief content officer Scott Gimple developing and expanding the Walking Dead Universe with projects he says are “far afield and very different” from what audiences have seen before, there’s an opportunity for this newest Walking Dead series to explore a major foreign territory.

Longtime Walking Dead director-producer Greg Nicotero previously advocated for an offshoot outside a stateside setting, saying in March 2018, “We’ve done a good job of allowing our audience to populate the US and I think there’s a lot more opportunities outside of the US for a zombie show.”

Nicotero expressed hopes for a winter-set spinoff, allowing for snow-covered and frozen walkers as sometimes seen in the comic books.

“The one thing that the comic book does great [is] when they introduce the cold weather and the winter,” Nicotero said.

“I had even written some webisodes that took place with a frozen zombie herd. And I think that our hopes are — my hopes — would be that we would get into an entirely different location, like a cold weather scenario. Because frozen zombies are f–ing awesome. Until they thaw out and then you’re screwed. Because they would freeze and thaw out, and they would be fine.”

The comic books previously ventured beyond the US with Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s one-shot comic book The Alien, centered around Rick Grimes’ younger brother Jeffrey and his fatal encounter with the newly reanimated dead in Barcelona, Spain.

Kirkman’s Skybound in November announced a new Walking Dead novel set in China, the first Walking Dead project to explore the world’s most populous country.

AMC has yet to date its second Walking Dead spinoff, still in early development at the network. Episodes of The Walking Dead Season Nine debut Sundays at 9/8c, ahead of Fear’s fifth season due out this summer.

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