Fear the Walking Dead is leaving the Lone Star State: The Walking Dead spinoff is exiting Texas and relocating production to Savannah, Georgia, for Season 8. Early seasons of the AMC zombie drama filmed in California, Canada, and Mexico before moving to Texas for Season 4 in 2017. Now the ATX Studios and Austin-based Fear the Walking Dead, currently airing its seventh season set in a post-nuclear zombie apocalypse Texas, will wrap its time in the state on December 17, according to the Austin Chronicle.
"To say this is a significant loss is an understatement," said Austin Film Commission director Brian Gannon, who credited Fear for creating "consistent, well-paying jobs for close to five years."
The reason for the move is unclear. Texas Motion Picture Association executive director Paul Jensen raised concerns over the "underfunded" Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, a rebate for productions that shoot in-state.
In January, Texas lawmakers reduced the TMIIIP from $50 million for the 2020-21 biennium to $45 million for 2022-23.
"This program is really wildly underfunded, and that we're losing projects so early in the two-year cycle is indicative that there's a huge amount of media production that wants to work in Texas, and we're not supporting that," said Jensen, who confirmed Fear is leaving Austin.
There are also concerns the Texas Film Commission, which administers TMIIIP, is playing favorites by "prioritizing applications from areas outside of Austin," according to the Chronicle, potentially "discouraging studios with long-term investments in the Texas economy from applying in the first place."
"We are so grateful that AMC made Austin home, for Fear the Walking Dead and The Son before that. They put our professionals to work, and a substantial amount of money into the local economy, and we hope to see them back in Austin in the future," said Gannon, who lamented the loss of funding to the Texas economy — upwards of $50,000 per hour of production on Fear.
"That money goes to a lot of local businesses in Austin — lumber yards, grocers, camera rental vendors, facilities, hotels, vehicle rental companies, the list goes on," Gannon said.
Fear's new home in Savannah is about four hours away from Senoia, Georgia, the longtime filming home of The Walking Dead. The flagship reached the midway point of production in August and will wrap in 2022.
AMC Networks has not yet officially renewed Fear for Season 8. Executive producers Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, joint showrunners since Season 4, said over the summer that Fear would not end at Season 7.
The ongoing season has Morgan Jones (Lennie James) at odds with Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) as Morgan struggles to regroup the scattered survivors and lead them to Padre, an unidentified location and rumored safe haven clear of the radioactive fallout from the nuclear warheads detonated by Teddy (John Glover) to end Season 6.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD and stay tuned to ComicBook for coverage all season long. New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.