The expanding Walking Dead franchise could be the next Star Trek and span generations, says star Ross Marquand.
"We already have Fear the Walking Dead, but there's already talk of a second spinoff, which would be amazing," Marquand told Heart FM at Middle East Film & Comic Con.
"I don't know how that's going to look, or even if [it happens] — I mean, there's rumors right now, so I don't know if that's actually going to happen. But I would love that. It's like Star Trek, it'll go on for like 30 years. Hopefully, yeah, that'd be great. I think the fans like it. It's a universally loved show because it deals with themes everyone can relate to."
Network AMC has since greenlit that second spinoff, adding its third Walking Dead series to a roster that already includes the nine-season flagship series and its four-season spinoff. The unnamed series, co-created by chief content officer Scott Gimple and Walking Dead veteran Matthew Negrete, will center around two young female protagonists and explore the first generation raised after the collapse of civilization.
Gimple — who has already put into motion additional films, specials, series, and other digital content set in the budding Walking Dead Universe — previously argued the franchise could survive for 20 years and possibly rival the long-running Simpsons.
"We are trying to do twenty years," Gimple said at PaleyFest 2017. "The comic has certainly done it, and I look forward to every issue. ... The Simpsons has been on 26, 27 years, so that's a challenge — so OK, challenge accepted. Done."
As long as the series continues to reinvent itself and "do things we haven't done, take risks," Gimple said, "the show can go on and on."
For however long The Walking Dead continues on as a heavyhitter brand, AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan said there exists a plan to manage the franchise "over the next decade, plus." That plan is a careful one "to respect the world of the fans of that world," Sapan said.
Even amid future spinoffs, the mothership series could see itself shift towards an entirely different cast.
"As a comic book, I don't know if it will end. As a TV show, all TV shows end," Gimple said on Larry King Now in 2014. "But I will say, I think it's possible that it could go on and on and on. I think if it went ten years... if it went longer than that it's possible that the cast, considering the amount of deaths on this cast and everything else, after ten or twelve years, it could shift into a whole new cast."
Gimple is now shepherding the second decade of The Walking Dead, launching with a "really big" 2020 that will include the back half of The Walking Dead Season Ten, a likely Fear the Walking Dead Season Six, the female-centric spinoff, and potentially the first Andrew Lincoln-led Rick Grimes movie.
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