Showrunner Angela Kang says The Walking Dead is not "burdened" by necessary production changes that ensure the comfort and safety of its cast and crew amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far prevented the Georgia-filmed zombie drama from shooting its eleventh season. In addition to the 16-episode Season 11 previously delayed until late 2021, there will be six "extra" episodes of Walking Dead Season 10 to follow the long-delayed season finale now scheduled to premiere in October. Production on these episodes, to air in 2021 as an extended "10.5" bridging a longer-than-usual gap between seasons, is expected to get underway later this year.
"These are just unprecedented times for everyone, so I think it's just something that we are all approaching with the greatest creativity we can," Kang said during The Walking Dead's virtual Comic-Con panel. "There's definitely things that we miss in some of the writing we're doing for the first episodes back, but at the same time, sometimes the limits that are placed on you lead to a lot of amazing creativity."
The show's writers have been working remotely since March; midway through the month, AMC Networks confirmed physical production on the new season would be delayed as the film and television industry began to shutter indefinitely.
"We've just been diving into great character work, hopefully great character work [laughs]. I don't want to pat ourselves on the back too soon, we still have a lot to do," Kang continued. "But it's really important to us that everybody feels comfortable shooting, and that we're safe when we do it, and so if that means we've gotta change things up a little bit, that's not a huge burden for us."
"We get to sit and make up stories in our heads, and these wonderful actors bring it to life, and that's quite a privilege," Kang added.
In May, series executive producer and director Greg Nicotero said still-developing guidelines and safety protocols means productions will "change dramatically" in the wake of COVID-19.0comments
"The number of people you have on set will probably diminish, which might mean it will take a little bit longer, where instead of having 60 people on set you may have 35 or 40 people on set," Nicotero told Entertainment Weekly. "I know the industry is working towards some sort of industry-wide guideline in terms of are we going to do box lunches and nobody takes a break and you shoot for 10 hours and that's it. No one's really going to know, so it's going to be a unique situation and definitely a brand-new world."
For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter. The Nicotero-directed Season 10 finale, “A Certain Doom,” premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC.