Chief content officer Scott Gimple is considering a "lighter take" on The Walking Dead Universe that would go "full comedic" in a first for the mature-rated franchise. Appearing on The Hollywood Reporter's "TV's Top 5" podcast, where Gimple elaborated on plans for a diverse lineup of multiple miniseries, specials and other shorter length series to build out TWD Universe, Gimple was asked about flexibility in terms of genre variation. Asked if he can imagine a TWD comedy or sitcom, Gimple quipped, "Challenge accepted." More seriously, Gimple answered, "Absolutely, a lighter thing, absolutely comedic things."
"There's a few things that we're working on now that I'm very excited about. There are characters in this universe who are used to this world, that can have a lighter take," he explained. "You can have your Black Panther and your Guardians of the Galaxy. And really, I mean, we've talked about full comedic stuff. Like even more than lighter."
Any such series would avoid violating the danger of the walkers, a.k.a. the flesh-hungry and reanimated undead, but an offshoot set around Eugene (Josh McDermitt) — singled out by Gimple as an example — would be naturally lighter in tone than one centered on Whisperer cult leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
"Never anything that would be goofy with the walkers. You just can't violate that, no singing and dancing dead people," Gimple said. "But like, if you were to fix the camera on Eugene for 42 minutes, it's gonna be much, much lighter than if you fixed the camera on Alpha. And then it's just turning the dials on those things from a content perspective."
A Walking Dead series tinged with comedy would be part of Gimple's efforts to further TWD Universe with different approaches raised by new voices. Beyond the 16-episode full seasons of The Walking Dead and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, Gimple is planning smaller efforts that could be contained to just a handful of episodes.
"I'm working, also, very hard to bring in new voices. I love the way we tell stories on these shows, but I'm looking to have stories that are just very, very different approaches that don't come from our minds," Gimple added. "That we collaborate with them, that we keep them in the right lanes, but that are very, very different from what we've done with original voices, diverse voices that can bring new things to the world."
Fear Season 5 addition Karen David earlier revealed showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg "seem to be open" to the idea of a musical episode, later seemingly confirmed by Gimple at New York Comic Con.
"People always come up with that," Gimple said of a musical episode set somewhere in TWD Universe. "We are actually trying to work on one. You heard it here."