While showrunner Angela Kang has plenty of freedom to tell her stories on The Walking Dead, there are certain parameters set by the expanding universe and the movies which are on the way. "Because Scott [Gimple] is the chief content officer, he sort of checks in with all of the parts of the universe and is kind of making sure that things don't conflict with each other, or that there are things that kind of lead into things," Kang explained to ComicBook.com.
The most recent example of the expanding universe becoming a factor within The Walking Dead's narrative came when Andrew Lincoln exited the series and his role of Rick Grimes. "For example, for us, he kind of came last year and said, 'So, I gotta write out Rick. And the things that needs to happen for the universe is he needs to be taken off in a helicopter by one of the helicopters that we've seen in the show,'" Kang explained. "And so, the impact is things like that, where it's like, 'Okay, here is this piece that is going to... somebody's gonna move into this other part of the universe or whatever, so here's the thing to work towards. But for the most part, the communication is pretty easy. [The Walking Dead] hasn't been heavily impacted, because in a lot of ways, The Walking Dead, as the show, it's the mothership show. It has a very clear guidebook, and we are the one project that's really following the comic book series. Of course, we have our own deviations from it, and remix it, and things like that."
While The Walking Dead TV series strays from the comics from time to time, it remains dedicated to bringing Robert Kirkman's series to live-action life. "That's always gonna be sort of our guiding star, is the comics, whereas other parts of the universe are sort of sideways from that," Kang explained. "And so, it probably impacts us maybe a little less than some of the other things, but of course, there's things like Rick going off in the helicopter, where it's like we have some clear guidelines coming from the universe."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.