The Walking Dead Season 10 finale delayed by coronavirus could air in the fall as a lead into new spinoff series The Walking Dead: World Beyond, recently set for a fourth quarter premiere by network AMC. Before the Walking Dead season finale and the World Beyond series premiere were pulled from their original broadcast dates, both episodes were planned to air Sunday, April 12, with the anticipated season closer — pitting a trapped group of survivors, including Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), against the zombie horde steered by Beta (Ryan Hurst) of the Whisperers — being trailed by the premiere episode of the two-season limited event series.
As its marquee franchise, major episodes of The Walking Dead often act as lead-ins for other AMC programming: the sixth season premiere of the since-cancelled Comic Book Men aired behind the Walking Dead Season 7 premiere in 2016, and more recently, the fifth season premiere of Better Call Saul trailed the zombie drama's mid-season 10 premiere when it returned from winter hiatus in late February.
In 2018, as part of the Survival Sunday event, the first-ever crossover between The Walking Dead and spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, the Season 8 finale of the mothership was immediately followed by the premiere episode of Fear Season 4.
While the Season 10 finale and the World Beyond series premiere are not connected in the way the Survival Sunday episodes were linked — by sending Morgan Jones (Lennie James) directly from one series into the other — AMC is likely to remain committed to bundling World Beyond with its biggest ratings performer by having both episodes premiere on the same night.
"You have to edit the episode, then you do sound effects, and then you do music, and then visual effects, and then color timing to make sure all the colors in all the scenes match, and then you have to do a quality check to make sure nothing is messed up," season finale director Greg Nicotero recently explained to EW. "So there are all these steps that have to happen, and generally speaking, the way our production schedule works is those happen up to about three weeks before the episode airs."
Nicotero continued, "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. 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."
The postponed season finale could air in lieu of the premiere episode of The Walking Dead Season 11, once expected to reach AMC in October 2020. Because it's unclear when cameras will roll on the new season, the eight-episode first half of Season 11 is likely to be pushed into the first quarter of 2021.
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