Following the revelation chief content officer Scott Gimple is shepherding a series of Walking Dead projects centered around characters both alive and dead, spinoff Fear the Walking Dead may have hinted at the return of Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz).
June's Season Four mid-season finale revealed a tape in the possession of video journalist Althea (Maggie Grace) labeled "Abe / Doctor," later confirmed on live aftershow Talking Dead to contain an interview with Abraham and traveling companion Eugene (Josh McDermitt).
"When Madison is rummaging through Al's tapes, we see they're all labeled," showrunner Ian Goldberg said.
"And each of those tapes, each of those labels, will tell a story. They're all stories that Al has captured at one point or another in her travels, and if you look closely, some of those names might ring a bell. If you're a fan of the Walking Dead universe, you might get excited about some of the stories that she's captured."
The tape could be a simple Easter egg paying a nod to Abraham and Eugene's travels through Texas — where the majority of Fear Season Four was set — before they later assimilated into the group led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) on The Walking Dead.
Or the tape could be a planted hint that audiences have not yet seen the last of Big Red, who was brutally bludgeoned to death by villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in that series' Season Seven opener.
Gimple, when announcing a Walking Dead television movie trilogy to star Andrew Lincoln, noted he is overseeing for AMC multiple projects set to expand and explore the Walking Dead universe in the past, present, and future — with characters both alive and dead — including new films, specials, series, and other digital content projects.
"We're going to be having different entertainments, different narratives within The Walking Dead," Gimple teased EW of the yet-to-be-announced slate.
"Different tone, different characters. We're also going to see old characters — review some content with old favorites. We get to revisit them and see stories of their past that we might not have shared before."
The CCO then suggested those stories could take the form of mini-series or one-offs that would resurrect even the long-dead, which would allow for a new Abe-led tale outside the confines of The Walking Dead or Fear the Walking Dead.
"We're going to see the past, we're going to see old characters. We're going to move into the future with new characters," Gimple said.
"We're doing films, we're doing specials. We're going to be looking at new series. And even just different expressions of series — not necessarily 16 episodes. We might be doing some mini-series. We're looking at different ways to tell stories. It's very important that these be distinct from the other two shows or they really won't be worth doing. We want to answer questions that the audience had all along. We want to see just different parts of the world. We really want to expand out the breadth of what The Walking Dead can be."
Before it was learned Lennie James' Morgan Jones would be the character crossing over from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead, linking the shows for the first time, it was speculated the fan-favorite Abraham would be tapped for the crossover.
Cudlitz, responding to the speculation at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2017, said "that'd be awesome."
For now, the actor remains tight with the Walking Dead family: Cudlitz returned as Abe in the Season Seven finale as part of a flashback experienced by lover Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), and Cudlitz makes his directorial debut on The Walking Dead Season Nine episode "Stradivarius," debuting Sunday, November 18 on the network.