The Walking Dead wrapped up its most packed year of content since it launched in 2010 on Sunday night. Fear the Walking Dead aired the first half of its sixth season, The Walking Dead: World Beyond debuted its premiere season, and The Walking Dead aired the second half of its tenth season. There would have been more hours of Dead content this year if not for the coronavirus causing delays which resulted significant broadcasting changes. Nevertheless, the world of zombies is rolling at full steam as The Walking Dead wrapped its Whisperer War, Fear is having its best season in years, and World Beyond concluded with plenty of momentum in its final couple of episodes. To recap the big year and look ahead to the future, The Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple connected with ComicBook.com for a deep dive in an exclusive interview.
"We have the Carol/Daryl show, which in some ways is the centerpiece of what's moving forward," Gimple said of the next phase of TWD. "Tales on the other hand is completely different. There isn't even a regular cast to that show. I think there's gonna be a mix of old favorites in various ways, whether they be specials, whether they be mini-series, whether they be on Tales, and then things like Carol and Daryl, and rolled out in a way that we're not over-saturating people with it, but letting people have a steady flow of The Walking Dead in their lives. That's our goal. We want that to be both very different and then some of those familiar faces. There's reinvention of the existing. And then there's the new stuff."
While some of the upcoming content is going to take a dive into the future of the apocalypse, the Tales of the Walking Dead series is going to examine a lot of what has happened in times which have already passed on the shows with quite a few familiar faces. In the mean time, fans can enjoy the conflicts rising between the characters they've fallen in love with, like Strand and Alicia on Fear or Felix and Huck on World Beyond. "I think it leads to conversation, whether it's hard to pick a side. Going all the way back to Rick and Shane, it was like, well, who's right? Who would I be?" Gimple says. "That's really the best one though, when they both have good arguments."
The full, uncut interview with Gimple diving into the past, present, and future of The Walking Dead shows and movies can be read below or watched in the video above!
(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Image)
World Beyond's LOST Tribute
Scott Gimple: Yes.
CB: The Walking Dead: World Beyond really kind of dove into similar flashbacks. So, these very informative flashbacks about characters, was that finally your chance to pay an ode to Lost?
SG: I would say, we went kicking and screaming into them because we didn't want to rip off Lost. We'd try to use them in slightly different ways. But yeah, I love Lost so much. Yeah, we hope... I'm sure they're different, I'm sure.
CB: They're quite different but I love that. I love how that informs the characters and where they're at in the moment, why they're there.
SG: And I will say, a lot of people said, I think when we left the Campus Colony, people were like, "Oh, man, I really wanted to see that place." And we did too. We really did want to keep going back there.prevnext
World Beyond Season 2
CB: I find those to be some of the most interesting aspects of this world, the places that survived, how they survived, how they fell, that kind of stuff. I just talked to Matt Negrete before we talked, the showrunner, and he kind of described the show-
SG: The showrunner, who I've known since I was 18, yes!
CB: Oh, so that's how we get a job. Do you wanna be friends? Because I'm ready, listen!
SG: We went to film school together. I think there's been various times in our lives where we've been the boss of each other. He's worked for me, I've worked for him. So this was my turn.
CB: I talked with him, and he mentioned that kind of World Beyond, it's going to be two chapters. This first season was one chapter and chapter two, he says, is going to be very different. I'd love to hear from you, what kind of contrast can we expect from the second 10 episodes versus the first 10 with World Beyond?
SG: Well, the first 10 are a road show, and there's a mystery churning under the surface that I think we didn't even know. I think that was, or at least I hope that was part of the success of that twist, is people really weren't... We weren't saying like, "Hey, wonder about this thing. "Wonder about this thing. "Here's the answer." It was more like, "Oh, here's the world you think that's happening. "Oh, something very different is going on." In season two, I think there's a lot of mysteries that you're aware of that are churning under the surface.
There's... Three to four different worlds. I didn't know whether to count one of them as a whole world, or it was like Pluto. There's like three very, very different worlds. Technically you might be able to say four. And they are incredibly contrasted from one another. And our characters will exist in these different worlds and crash together in different ways. And so they're not all walking on this great journey with each other. Rather, they're inhabiting places that are very different, and in some ways in conflict with each other. And it's defining them very differently. And that can be a problem with how close these characters are to sort of be on suddenly different teams.prevnext
Straight to Rick Grimes?
CB: As like The Walking Dead now has an end date in mind, World Beyond has had an end date in mind, has the destination for World Beyond changed at all? You've had this ending in mind but with the delays and official TWD ending after Season 11, has anything changed?
SG: We knew it was gonna be a defined end to that show. We had played around with the amount of time we were gonna take to do it and even the amount of episodes. It's 10 episodes a season, World Beyond. That's different than Walking Dead. That's not as big a commitment to an audience. So I think an audience might be like, "Whoa, that went by so quick." And it certainly has felt a little claustrophobic to us as far as story goes. So we have sometimes been like, "Ooh, maybe we should have... "Maybe three would have been the sweet spot." But we knew where the endings generally were. And we're getting there in sort of different ways. When we were making the show, when we were airing this show, a lot of that has changed from circumstances that are beyond everyone's control. So we're just rolling with the whole thing. We love these characters, and we want to get them to the places that we intended.
CB: I have to ask you, is that place Rick Grimes?
SG: You know what? I'm very happy to say... I'm not happy to say the answer. I'm happy to be definitive with people. It is not.
That's one, I don't know if people are being cagey about that. But I feel that one's important not to be cagey about. I think people could watch this show and learn a lot about the mythology that Rick Grimes is caught up in. And they might even see places where Rick Grimes has been. But yeah, he's not swinging around the corner. And I don't even know if I'm making people upset saying that, but I just don't like people watching it, sort of expecting Rick.
CB: Yeah, to set the right expectation, that's smart. I think that's a good move.
SG: But people will learn a lot about the world that Rick is entangled in. So I think there is a great benefit to that.prevnext
Fear the Walking Dead
CB: I also wanna talk to you about the other shows. With Fear the Walking Dead, season six has been phenomenal. Every episode, I'm like, "Is this the one where..." And every one-
SG: Finish the thought, Brandon.
CB: Every episode is so good. And I think after like three or four, I was like, "Is five gonna be the first not-great episode this season?" And then six, and each one was great. It's hard for any show to be that consistent. We can go back to our love of Lost, and I can even find some terrible episodes in that show.
SG: It's funny, I'm doing a [Lost] re-watch right now with my wife. And it is funny to see those 'cause I don't remember those at all.
CB: You just have to skip the Nikki and Paolo episode. You just have to skip it.
SG: They just showed up, and I was like, "Oh, dear." I'm like, "This is interesting."
CB: Fear has been so fantastic, but of course it ended one episode earlier than originally planned because 2020 has let none of us go as planned. So does that mean kind of when it comes back, like 6x08 is going to be this big finale-like episode? How does that work?
SG: I'm just gonna say 608 is a huge episode, just the ramifications of it, the emotion of it, the intensity of it. I know why we didn't get it done. It was because of... But I just saw the totally finished cut, everything we could get together, and I can't wait for people to see it. It's a really, really good episode. And there's a couple sequences in there that I still think about, that I knew what they were on the page. We had talked about them. But to see what... How they came out was just...
CB: I can't wait.
SG: Yeah, Mikey Satrazemis, man.prevnext
Rick v Shane Vibes
CB: This applies to Fear, and this also applies to World Beyond; the main characters who are supposed to be our family that we're following, they're all at odds with each other on both of these shows. It's taken me back to Shane and Rick. Why do you think that makes for such good storytelling, when the characters you love are at odds with each other?
SG: I think it leads to conversation, whether it's hard to pick a side. Going all the way back to Rick and Shane, it was like, well, who's right? Who would I be? And they both have good... And that's really the best one though, when they both have good arguments.
CB: Tony Stark and Steve Rogers right there.
SG: Or Dr. Shepherd and Mr. Locke. You get to see the world through two sides that you both like. Yeah, conflict. I don't think conflict is necessarily the total engine of story. I think change is, but to see it on its feet, it works, and it's been great. And I will say, last season, season five, it's interesting. Everybody was trying to be on the same page. These characters all wanted the same thing, which was redemption. And they were doing something benevolent, and it was about all this light, all this positivity, all this brightness. And by the end of the season, they all get totally clobbered for it and destroyed, and it truly does kill Morgan. It kills him.
CB: Morgan Jones is dead.
SG: We wanted to have this next season... We knew those two sides of it, that they were gonna have this brightness, they were gonna fail, and then the empire was gonna strike back. And it's been interesting to see how much people love seeing the rough stuff, the conflict, the darkness, the pain. It's been very cool. We were understandably nervous about it in some ways 'cause it was like, man, this is rough. Everybody's at each other's throats. But also the different structure, the anthological structure, we definitely have felt more confident about the stories, like Dorie and June, who was at that point, and Alicia and Charlie leaving 609. We were like, "We should do a whole season "of stories like that." And that was how we approached it.prevnext
CB: My last thing on the Fear front is a question I'm sure I'm not the only person asking you, but it's probably the one question you can answer for nobody. With Alicia mentioning the stadium, I don't know if you read what's on the internet, we've gone crazy thinking there's a chance we might get an indication of Madison being out there, Kim Dickens coming back in a flashback or Madison is still alive. What can you say to the people who are on such speculation trains that Madison is out there somewhere?
SG: Keep hope alive? I was in a chat for New York Comic Con, I think. I don't usually... I don't know. I don't usually have Q&As directly with the fans like that. I don't know why it just doesn't come up that much, which is something I should ask people about. But it was weird to be in that because, yeah, there were a lot of questions about Madison. And it really is true that we're kicking a lot of things around, not just within... We've had discussions of Fear. We've had discussions with Tales of the Walking Dead, and then even within the Walking Dead universe. There's all sorts of possibilities. We investigate that past a lot in stories, especially with Tales of the Walking Dead. So if it were all to come together, it would be amazing, but there's some things floating around that are truly awesome.
CB: I think Tales of the Walking Dead sounds like one of the most exciting projects you guys have coming up. I can't wait to see what you guys do with that. Is there any time table on when Tales"might start moving?
SG: I'm hoping actually to have some information into the new year. We're just sort of trying to sequence it with the rest of the things we're working on. It's been announced. It's a serious endeavor right now. But as far as the when of it all, we're getting closer to that.prevnext
The Walking Dead Season 10C
CB: Speaking of these anthology episodes, The Walking Dead has these six episodes coming. We just found out Robert Patrick is in them, Hilarie Burton is there... What can you tell me about the kind of when and where we can expect these episodes to take place?
SG: It's in the aftermath of 10A and 10B. It is a part of that story. It's connected to all that. Even like "Here's Negan" obviously has to do with Negan's backstory, but even then, that is directly connected to the story coming out of season 10. These episodes, I mean... There were six episodes, six weeks. They were written in a... We had to go right at it. Angela [Kang], the staff, some writers from the past, from Walking Dead past, some people who came back to actually work on them. Everybody just gave it their all. And like Fear the Walking Dead, they're concentrated stories because they're shot in a way where we only have a couple of characters that we're focusing on. I just love those kind of stories. It's weird, for all of the intensity and fire that was under everyone to turn out as well, they're amazing in that "Here's Negan" is an incredible episode. It's really strange, the circumstances, how this all came together, but these six episodes are gonna be something that I think people are gonna really, really enjoy.
Initially I looked upon it as sort of an acoustic set, but it's so much more than that. I guess it's like, it's still a rock concert, but it's very intimate. It's like you got into a show, like you're 50 people at the Whiskey seeing the Rolling Stones.
CB: I can't wait to see those episodes, man.
SG: I'm sure the kids reading this article will be like, "Rolling who?"prevnext
End Of An Era
CB: As I let you go, man, with Walking Dead coming to an end in 2022, World Beyond coming to an end after Season 2, the Rick Grimes movie on the horizon, and Fear likely going into a Season 7, is this kind of like what Marvel did with the Infinity Saga coming to an end? Is this going to roll it into a next phase, with Tales and Daryl/Carol? How would you describe this? Are we at a transition period for this franchise in 2022, in the near future?
SG: I think it's a little different. Marvel is... I say this as a fan. I haven't been in on the meetings. But it's like their whole next chapter, it's a whole new thing. It's gonna be all these new faces. With Walking Dead, it's a mix. We have the Carol/Daryl show, which in some ways is the centerpiece of what's moving forward. Tales on the other hand is completely different. There isn't even a regular cast to that show. I think there's gonna be a mix of old favorites in various ways, whether they be specials, whether they be mini-series, whether they be on Tales, and then things like Carol and Daryl, and rolled out in a way that we're not over-saturating people with it, but letting people have a steady flow of The Walking Dead in their lives. That's our goal. We want that to be both very different and then some of those familiar faces. There's reinvention of the existing. And then there's the new stuff.
So I think people have a real bright future ahead who love Walking Dead. They're gonna have a real variety with a steady flow for their lives.
Oh, yeah, there it is. Okay, I'll show you this. I had to move this over here. This here, pardon me, this is the bullet that got Sophia.
CB: Wow! Here I was thinking I was cool for having a bullet from the day I was a zombie. I don't know if I should say that, but I did take a bullet from the ground.
SG: I think it's all right.
CB: But that's a much cooler bullet. That is awesome.
SG: I remember I was just sitting there. I have a bag of them in the dirt. But I made sure, Prop Master John Sanders made sure he had the one that was the final shot.
CB: That's pretty cool. Well there you go, man, thank you. Thank you so much for talking... Actually, I have one last thing...prevnext
CB: There is a portion of the fans who will kill me if I don't ask this, and they're so loving and affectionate and awesome.
SG: We are still working on the movie. It is proceeding.
CB: Actually I know that the movie is always in flux! So, I was gonna say, have we seen the last of Richonne?
SG: Oh. I mean, I really don't think so. I just said we were working on the movies, you asked that question, we'll leave it at that.
CB: I love it. I love it, man.
SG: And you know, there's... It's weird, I was talking to somebody this afternoon, people should pay attention to the way that Michonne left the show.
CB: Yeah, King Bach came and took her away.
SG: There's something going on there. Yeah, King Bach was there. I'm very grateful to him. We probably haven't seen the end of him either. It was King Bach for a reason. But that was a pretty big group she was with.
CB: So, you're saying TikTok exists in the apocalypse!
SG: No, I certainly don't think so. That guy would have had... Yeah, and then imagine those two King Bach's and the different lives they've had. The one in our universe is having decidedly less fun.2comments
CB: Well I love it, man. Thank you so much for talking. It's always a pleasure talking with you, man.
SG: It's great to talk to you.prev