As the flagship series marches towards its tenth season, due out this October on AMC, the cabler has no plans to slow its output from the Kirkman-created universe.
"This extraordinary comic created a world that already lives in multiple forms, and in the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the world, and will for many years to come," AMC Networks said in a statement.
Former showrunner turned chief creative officer Scott Gimple, who now oversees two spinoffs, the coming movie franchise starring Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, and other original content set in the Walking Dead Universe, is on record stating the franchise can survive for at least another decade.
"We are trying to do twenty years," Gimple said at PaleyFest 2017. "The comic has certainly done it, and I look forward to every issue. ... The Simpsons has been on 26, 27 years, so that's a challenge — so OK, challenge accepted. Done."
As long as the series continues to reinvent itself and "do things we haven't done, take risks," Gimple said, "the show can go on and on."
Beyond its big-budget movie franchise, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said in September there exists a plan to manage TWD "over the next decade, plus." That plan is a careful one "to respect the world of the fans of that world," Sapan said.
Gimple predicted the mothership series could outlive its original core group of characters, continuing on through the injection of new blood.
"As a comic book, I don't know if it will end. As a TV show, all TV shows end," Gimple said on Larry King Now in 2014. "But I will say, I think it's possible that it could go on and on and on. I think if it went ten years... if it went longer than that it's possible that the cast, considering the amount of deaths on this cast and everything else, after ten or twelve years, it could shift into a whole new cast."
Also committed to the continuation of its flagship franchise is AMC entertainment networks group president Sarah Barnett, who 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."
"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," Barnett told Vulture in April.
"We did see declines at the beginning of [Season 9], 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."
2020 marks a decade of TWD on television, a year Gimple promised will be "bananas."
"Right now, 2020 is looking like a really big year for the universe and the shows," Gimple said at WonderCon in April. "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."0comments
It will be the first year since 2003 without an issue of The Walking Dead reaching store shelves. But the live-action franchise has outgrown what even Kirkman thought it could be: in his farewell letter ending The Walking Dead #193, Kirkman recounted his humble black-and-white comic book going on to become a "truly worldwide, multi-media phenomenon" — one capable of surviving past its source material.
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres this October on AMC.