'The Walking Dead' Universe Projects Could Resurrect Dead Characters

AMC on Thursday revealed it's now in "active development" on its third Walking Dead series, fulfilling chief content officer Scott Gimple's promise the expanding zombie universe would soon include a second spinoff.

When announcing the Andrew Lincoln-led trilogy of Rick Grimes movies to premiere on network AMC, Gimple teased there's "much more on the way, featuring yet-unseen worlds of The Walking Dead and faces from the show's past," which could in theory include such killed off fan-favorites as Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and the Governor (David Morrissey).

In addition to the films and planned series, Gimple added he would be overseeing specials, digital content, and other offshoots that would explore the blossoming Walking Dead Universe in the past, present, and future, allowing dead characters to be resurrected in past-set projects outside the mothership series.

The Walking Dead: Red Machete director Avi Youabian and writer Nick Bernardone hinted such plans were in the works last June, acknowledging fans' desire to see long-dead favorites revived:

"In the future, you can probably expect to see a little bit more connectivity to the show universe, if not the expanded show's universe. I think folks want to see a bit more of folks that either have already passed on the show, or folks that we haven't spent enough time with," Bernardone told Deadline when teasing future short-form entries similar to Red Machete and Flight 462.

"As I believe Scott Gimple has teased in the past, we're going to see more of these kinds of things and unique ways to tell stories that aren't so strictly narrative-based."

Such plans would fold nicely into AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan's declaration the network has a plan to manage the Walking Dead Universe "over the next decade, plus."

"The one thing I would add is I would love to see more cross-over narrative from mothership shows — not just Walking Dead, but seeing more backstories for characters on these digital series," Youabian said.

"I know there are people who would love to see more of those stories being told, and sometimes you just don't have the real estate to do it on the air — time to expand on characters that are maybe not the A story, but more like B- or C-story characters. I know the fans of the universe would get a kick out of that."

Such a project — whether it be a full-fledged spinoff, a television movie, or a mini-series — could, for example, resurrect Cudlitz's Abraham, killed off in The Walking Dead's Season Seven premiere.

An Easter egg spotted in Fear the Walking Dead hinted at Abraham's past travels — he was in Texas before linking with Rick Grimes and company in The Walking Dead Season Four — and Cudlitz, who remains involved with the flagship series as director, has since hinted flashbacks or video tapes could be used to bring about Abe's return.

Another alternative would be a Governor-centric series as Morrissey has said he hopes to reprise the role "in any capacity," in a story that could borrow from the Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga penned series of spinoff novels that detailed the origins of the Governor and Woodbury.

Should the untitled second Walking Dead spinoff instead focus on new characters, Kirkman in May said he "wouldn't be surprised if we eventually do something internationally in the TV space."

For now, Gimple promises future stories to be told by Walking Dead "veterans and emerging voices," who will tell stories that will "break new ground with different, distinct stories, all part of the same world that's captured our imagination for nearly a decade of the Dead."


AMC has yet to set release dates for either its first Walking Dead movie or the developing second spinoff.

The Walking Dead Season Nine airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead debuts its fifth season this summer.