AMC’s expanding Walking Dead franchise will celebrate its tenth anniversary and the launch of its second decade with a massive 2020, promises Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple.
“Right now, 2020 is looking like a really big year for the universe and the shows,” Gimple said at WonderCon. “I guess it’s the beginning of our next decade, so we’re trying to kick it off in style. But it looks like 2020 is an exciting year.”
Gimple first staked 2020 as a big year when appearing on the March season finale of live aftershow Talking Dead, where he hinted the coming fifth season of spinoff Fear the Walking Dead serves as a tie-in with the first-ever Walking Dead movies.
“We’re working on a number of things right now, they’re getting very close. We’re gonna have a steady flow of announcements through the rest of the year, and then 2020 is gonna be bananas,” Gimple said.
“There’s gonna be some pre-announcements made, we’re gonna have some announcements after that ... but what I will say is Fear the Walking Dead is coming up in June, and there is a story in the first half of the season that has to do with one of these greater stories of the universe that will bring in some of the things that all of you guys have seen before, and it will expand it out just a little bit more, and then we’ll have an announcement.”
Gimple later revealed Fear Season Five continues a story that first started on the mothership series, hinting at connective tissue with the previously announced Rick Grimes movie series penned by Gimple and anchored by longtime Walking Dead leading man Andrew Lincoln.
The network has since announced it officially greenlit its third Walking Dead series, co-created by Gimple and Walking Dead veteran Matthew Negrete, who serves as showrunner.
Both the movie side of the franchise and the second spinoff fall under AMC’s “careful plan” to manage the Walking Dead Universe “over the next decade, plus,” as declared by CEO Josh Sapan in September.
Also unfazed by a decline in ratings is AMC’s entertainment networks group president Sarah Barnett, whose faith in the franchise is bolstered by the ninth season of The Walking Dead winning its best-ever critical acclaim under first time showrunner Angela Kang.
“Our decline has really mirrored the declines across basic cable — we just had higher to fall from,” Barnett told Vulture.
“The fact that we are still the No. 1 show by a margin of two to one is quite something. One of the things that I take such encouragement from is the fact that our ratings are pretty stabilized. We did see declines at the beginning of [Season Nine], but through all of the back half of this season, we are seeing the kind of stability that we’ve never really seen in this property before. We believe that we’ve hit a core, and that if that core sits around the numbers it is, it will continue to be a complete phenomenon in cable TV in 2019.”
Barnett added the network still believes there exists “audience and untapped creative opportunity within this show, and in exploring some new worlds and new characters that are related to this incredibly rich, strong universe,” which promises to further tie its two shows together as varying levels of crossover take shape.
“We want to break new ground with different, distinct stories, all part of the same world that’s captured our imagination for nearly a decade of the Dead,” Gimple said of the blossoming Walking Dead Universe when announcing the movie franchise in November, promising coming specials, series, and other digital content set to explore the universe in the past, present, and future.
AMC on June 2 premieres Fear the Walking Dead Season Five. 2020 will then see the second half of The Walking Dead Season Ten as well as the expected launch of the untitled second spinoff and the first Rick Grimes movie.