The eleventh season of The Walking Dead is "something unlike you've seen on the show before," says executive producer Scott Gimple when teasing the final season coming to AMC in late 2021. The extra-sized season 11, which spans 24 episodes across two years, expands the world of The Walking Dead when our group of zombie apocalypse survivors discovers the Commonwealth — a sprawling network of communities home to nearly 50,000 people. It was the armored soldiers of the Commonwealth who apprehended Eugene's (Josh McDermitt) group in the cliffhanger ending of "A Certain Doom," where Eugene set a rendezvous with unseen radio contact Stephanie (Margot Bingham).
"After ten years of The Walking Dead, to see the show continue to evolve, to say, 'We're going to show you something unlike you've seen on the show before,' it's a wonderful thing," Gimple says in a behind-the-scenes video released by FOX TV UK.
Adds showrunner Angela Kang of the cliffhanger ending, "We've met a new group, and they certainly seem to be very capable, very well-equipped. So that will send us into our next story."
In April, Kang said the reveal of the Commonwealth would bring a "more urban feel" to The Walking Dead season 11 with a return to city environments, but it remains to be seen how that scope and those plans might be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eugene and his captured companions — King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) of Hilltop, and new friend Princess (Paola Lazaro) — return in "Splinter," one of the six new episodes extending The Walking Dead's tenth season into early 2021. The bonus episode reveals what happens after Commonwealth officers swarm the group at a rail yard in Charleston, West Virginia, where the soldiers lock our heroes inside separate train cars to await questioning.
In the comic book from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, it was the group's reaching the Ohio-based Commonwealth that marked the march towards the end of The Walking Dead. A cliffhanger in the final panels of issue #173 introduces the Commonwealth Army, and the book ends 20 issues later with an extra-sized issue #193.
Including the six-episode extended season 10 premiering February 28 on AMC, there are a total of 30 more episodes of The Walking Dead until the series ends in late 2022. Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) will return in a sequel spinoff described as a "road show" from Gimple and Kang, who reprises her role as showrunner.