The Walking Dead could soon finish post-production on its delayed Season 10 finale after California on Friday gives the green light for film and television production to resume following months-long coronavirus closures. The season finale, "A Certain Doom," was unable to be completed before California shut down for business, leaving the Greg Nicotero-directed episode in limbo just weeks before its scheduled April 12 air date. Both Nicotero and showrunner Angela Kang earlier stated the finale — which pits Daryl (Norman Reedus), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and other trapped survivors against a zombie horde commanded by Whisperer Beta (Ryan Hurst) — was "very close" to completion before post-production work on the episode was paused.
The state of California will allow film and television production to resume on June 12, in compliance with safety guidelines issued by Los Angeles County. A report from Variety notes physical production will not resume immediately, with only some productions expected to get underway in July and August.
On June 9, the outlet reported productions can resume once labor union representatives sign off on new coronavirus safety protocols. Final approval of those plans could be four to six weeks away, according to the report.
The final episode of The Walking Dead's tenth season can be readied for air once these requirements are met and crew can safely resume work at reopened facilities in California, where episodes of the Georgia-filmed Walking Dead are completed.
"We were very close to finishing [episode] 16," Kang told ComicBook.com in April. "We usually deliver the episodes for a big effects-heavy episode about two weeks before we air. We were about a week and a half out at the point which California shut down."
"What is continuing remotely is the effects that can be finished, but even after all of that's done, all the shots need to be laid in," Kang said when explaining the delay. "There's a color process that needs machines to be finished. There's sound work that we usually do on the Warner Brothers stage, and that's very complex mixing equipment that you can't just move into somebody's house overnight. And multiple people work on that."
Kang stressed the finale is "very, very close to finishing," noting work on the episode would resume as soon as it's safe to do so.
"I think actually, by the time the world is safe for people to start venturing out, probably all of the effects will be done, and then it's just a handful of processes and it can be turned around very, very quickly," Kang added. "We're very hopeful that we can get it all done very rapidly once we're back up and running."
A potential landing point for the episode could be late July, some three months after the season finale's original air date. The episode's premiere on AMC could coincide with San Diego Comic-Con weekend, July 22-26, to be held as a free virtual event after the annual gathering was cancelled due to coronavirus.
"We were really on our way to the finish line when things started slowing down because of the stay at home work order. So we just missed that window," Nicotero previously told EW. "It wasn't that the effects were delayed or anything was delayed. It was just the delivery of the episode was set to be delivered at a specific date and we had to shut down before they hit that date."
Nicotero has since promised a jaw-dropping ending to the episode in the lead up to Season 11. It's unclear when filming might begin on the new season, once expected for an October 2020 premiere on AMC.
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