The Walking Dead Returns in 2021 Trailer Released

The Walking Dead releases an in-production trailer ahead of its return in 2021 with the six new season 10 episodes filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The trailer blends footage from season 10 up through "A Certain Doom," the original season finale that aired on October 4 after lengthy post-production delays caused by the coronavirus, and footage recorded during the virtual cast table read released just before filming began on the new mini-season. The Walking Dead returns early next year with "Home Sweet Home," reuniting Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) for the first time in years, taking place in the immediate aftermath of the Whisperer War.

AMC previously released a similar teaser trailer for The Walking Dead: Epic Final Season, the 24-episode season 11 set for a late 2021 premiere on the network. Along with these six bonus episodes, there are 30 total episodes until the end of The Walking Dead in late 2022.

Negan and Maggie's tense reunion also paves the way for an early apocalypse flashback episode revealing Negan's so-far untold origin story, where we'll see for the first time his late wife Lucille (played by Morgan's real-life wife Hilarie Burton).

Because COVID-19 health and safety protocols limit the number of zombie extras allowed on set, these episodes will be smaller in scope and scale with "deep dives" into characters like Negan, Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Carol (Melissa McBride).

"We've chosen to go in the other version of the Walking Dead tradition, which is dive really deeply into these really cool character stories," showrunner Angela Kang said during a virtual TWD showrunners summit. "I think that that is also The Walking Dead, and so hopefully people will enjoy stuff like that. We've got, definitely, a story I think a lot of comic book fans have been waiting for for a long time. And I love the script, and so we'll get to tease things in a different way."

Maggie also receives a past-set bonus episode, revealing where she's been and what she's been up to in the years she's been away from The Walking Dead. This episode will also unmask the mystery survivor who rescued Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) when Maggie made her just-in-time return in "A Certain Doom."

"We really get into the heads of the characters more than a giant situation where you’d have thousands of zombies on top of you and people screaming and running," Reedus told Deadline when revealing first story details from these all-new episodes. "It's more character-driven, because of COVID, it's kind of changed the dynamic a little bit. Also, I think after such an epic battle at the end of this season I think you need some breathing room."

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He added, "I think people need to exhale and take a look around them, and I think that's what's happening now. I'm sure it'll ramp back up again, but right now it's kind of an introspective exhale sort of a feel, which is nice. It's a nice tone."

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