The Walking Dead Star Says Show Won’t Catch Up to Book’s Ending for Another Three Seasons

Jeffrey Dean Morgan estimates it will be at least another three seasons before The Walking Dead exhausts its comic book source material.

“I think we could technically go, probably, another three years of staying pretty much on track with the comic book,” Morgan told the Los Angeles Times ahead of the series’ Season 10 return.

Added Norman Reedus, whose Daryl Dixon is exclusive to the show, “But we’re so far off from the comic book already.”

When The Walking Dead does align with the comic book’s ending, Morgan is confident showrunner Angela Kang, TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman can successfully extend the show past its source material.

“They’ve assured us, and I believe them, that they’ve got endless stories still to tell. I think that helps us all,” Morgan added. “But I think the crew, the cast, when it first came out that the comic book was ending, was a bit of a shock.”

Morgan then pointed to the many Walking Dead projects in the works, including a second spinoff and a trilogy of theatrical movies headlined by Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln, as a sign TWD Universe isn’t beholden to the finite comic book that ended in July at issue #193.

“There’s plans, there’s plans,” Morgan said. Added co-star Nadia Hilker, “And also with [spinoff Fear the Walking Dead], maybe [come together]. There are endless opportunities.”

Morgan’s Negan also survived the book, as confirmed by Kirkman in a goodbye letter ending his final issue.

“And the postscript of Kirkman’s letter, the last thing he wrote was, ‘Negan lives,’” Morgan said with a proud smirk. “Ha!”

After Kirkman calmed worries the show would spontaneously end like his comic book, Kang said at San Diego Comic-Con there’s “still a good amount of issues left before the ending of the comic.” The penultimate episode of Season 9 pulled from issue #144, putting the show nearly 50 issues behind the comic ending.

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Pointing to the “butterfly effect” caused by the significant deviations made from the source material, Kang added, “We’ve gotta work on it, kind of a season at a time, but there’s also a longer view, always. So I think a short version is there’s still a lot of stories left to tell.”

The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its Season 10 premiere Sunday, October 6.