The Walking Dead Bringing Back Past Characters for Peek at the Early Zombie Apocalypse

The Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple has reaffirmed plans to bring back past characters for a "peek" at the earliest days of the zombie-plagued Walking Dead Universe, now taking place ten years post-outbreak by the time of The Walking Dead Season 10 and coming spinoff The Walking Dead: World Beyond. AMC Networks previously expanded the connected universe through a number of multi-part web series — including tie-ins Torn Apart, Cold Storage, The Oath, and Red Machete — followed later by the 16-part Flight 462 and Passage, released as "mini episodes" aired during commercial breaks on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

"I will say, we're working on things where we are looking at past characters," Gimple said during The Walking Dead's virtual Comic-Con presentation. "Maybe not a whole series, but we're looking at things where we can take a peek at — maybe not pre-apocalypse — but early in the apocalypse. We're looking at folks, so get excited for that."

When asked about a wished-for spinoff set before the outbreak of the zombie virus, the ex-Walking Dead showrunner picked Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) — the former pizza delivery boy who rescued Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) about two months into the apocalypse — because "I miss working with Steven, and it would be funny. And I like the funny." (In 2019, Yeun stated he would not be returning to The Walking Dead and that he was "satisfied" with his character's death in the show's seventh season premiere.)

When detailing these plans earlier this year, Gimple said these short form projects would involve "characters we miss and we lost" to "fill in the blanks," describing these projects as "great zombie stories, really great stories of the end of the world."

Gimple first announced plans for future Walking Dead spinoffs in 2018, teasing both "traditional and non-traditional" projects that would explore "different ways to tell stories, possibly with characters we know and possibly with characters we don't."

This expansion plan has since birthed a third show featuring all new characters, the Gimple co-created World Beyond, as well as a forthcoming feature film trilogy centered on Rick Grimes.

The Walking Dead: Torn Apart revealed the backstory of Hannah (Lilli Birdsell), better known as the "Bicycle Girl" zombie encountered by Rick when he awakes from his coma in the main show's premiere episode, "Days Gone Bye." And Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462, set aboard a plane at the onset of the zombie apocalypse, introduced survivor Alex (Michelle Ang), who went on to appear in the second season of Fear.

These "mini episodes" fleshing out the Walking Dead world could be how fan-favorite characters return, including the killed off Governor (David Morrissey) and Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz). Morrissey hopes to reprise his role in a prequel story while Cudlitz has teased Abe's return to the Walking Dead Universe, made possible by Easter eggs and connections revealed in Fear.

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"I think folks want to see a bit more of folks that either have already passed on the show, or folks that we haven't spent enough time with," Red Machete writer Nick Bernardone said in 2018. "As I believe Scott Gimple has teased in the past, we're going to see more of these kinds of things and unique ways to tell stories that aren't so strictly narrative-based."

For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter. The Walking Dead Season 10 finale, “A Certain Doom,” premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC.