The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman says Tales of the Walking Dead, the previously announced anthology spin-off coming to life at AMC, will "do things that are much different" than what we've seen on the main series. As the zombie drama heads into its 24-episode farewell season launching this summer, the episodic anthology created by Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott Gimple will tell contained zombie stories about new and existing characters — including returning fan-favorites who have died by the time of The Walking Dead's final season, set more than a decade into the zombie apocalypse.
Unlike most seasons of The Walking Dead, which traditionally consist of 16 episodes separated into two eight-episode half seasons, Tales will have a "smaller season" that is "very much underway."
"I mean, we're hopeful that it'll last past the first season. There's not any kind of cap on what we're doing, we're just trying to make the best season possible to begin with and see how things go from there," Kirkman told Collider. "I think it's a tremendous opportunity to explore many different aspects of the Walking Dead Universe, to be able to jump forward and backward in time, and also do things that are much different than what we've done on The Walking Dead thus far. So I think it'll be a really cool show, but we’re gonna see how things go."
Characters expected to return include Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and Beta (Ryan Hurst) of the Whisperers, as well as Eastman (John Carroll Lynch), the stick-wielding mentor of Morgan Jones (Lennie James) who appeared in a one-off bottle episode back in Season 6 of The Walking Dead.
AMC announced Tales last year as an "episodic anthology with individual episodes or arcs of episodes focused on new or existing characters, backstories or other stand-alone experiences." Gimple characterizes the spinoff as a grab-bag telling different zombie stories week-to-week, each spanning the Walking Dead timeline of ten-plus years and taking place across the Walking Dead Universe that includes spin-offs Fear the Walking Dead and TWD: World Beyond.
"We have the Carol/Daryl [spin-off] 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," Gimple previously told ComicBook.com. "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."
AMC has not set a release date for Tales of the Walking Dead. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.