The Walking Dead Universe Unites Its Villains to Shut Down 2020

The Walking Dead Universe brings in the baddies to break down 2020 — or as Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) puts it in his profanity-filled first appearance: "Shut that sh-t down." Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple shared the commissioned artwork ahead of New Year's Eve, showing Negan taking a swing at the past year with beloved barbwire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille. Joining him in the piece from artist Melissa Duffy is Fear the Walking Dead's Ginny (Colby Minifie) and TWD: World Beyond's CRM Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kublek (Julia Ormond), who open fire on 2020 after it delayed all three shows out of the Walking Dead Universe.

In March, the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic shut down production on the sixth season of Fear and delayed production on season 11 of The Walking Dead. That same month, AMC Networks postponed both the season 10 finale of The Walking Dead and the series premiere of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, the spin-off created by Gimple and Matt Negrete.

By September, weeks before the long-delayed "A Certain Doom" aired on October 4, the network announced The Walking Dead would end with an eleventh and final season spanning 24 episodes. That announcement came during a pared-down year for TWD, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in October.

The live-action franchise entered into its tenth year with the second part of the Angela Kang-led season 10 — tied for the best-received season of the show with season 9 — sending off the fan-favorite Michonne (Danai Gurira) after the departure of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) a season earlier. After that months-long delay, The Walking Dead returned to life and marked the return of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) with its blockbuster season 10 finale.

Along with the launch of the ten-episode first season of World Beyond under showrunner Negrete, the front half of Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg's Fear season 6 emerged as the highest-rated season of the Walking Dead spin-off. The Lennie James-led series, which has grown to include Walking Dead transplants Dwight (Austin Amelio) and Sherry (Christine Evangelista), performed a 180 in critical reception after taking an anthology-style approach in the sixth season resuming early next year.

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The Walking Dead returns with a six-episode extended season 10, filmed over a pandemic-proofed six-week shoot in October. Then it's the beginning of the end for the zombie drama when its 24-episode Epic Final Season begins airing in October 2021.

Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead returns with new episodes on February 28, 2021, on AMC.