The Walking Dead is ending. The Walking Dead Universe lives on. The eleventh and final season of the AMC zombie drama will return with its last-ever eight episodes on October 2, the beginning of the end of the original show that started with Rick Grimes and a small group of zombie apocalypse survivors in 2010. Eleven seasons and twelve years later, the mothership series has spawned an expanding universe of spinoffs, including the ongoing Fear the Walking Dead, the two-season limited series The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and the episodic anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead will conclude in November with its series finale, ending the flagship after 177 episodes. AMC has already announced the first series spinning out of the final season of The Walking Dead, which are scheduled to premiere in 2013: one focused on Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) overseas; Isle of the Dead, teaming frenemies Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in post-apocalyptic New York City; and the untitled series reuniting long-lost partners Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
During a San Diego Comic-Con press conference for Season 11 of The Walking Dead, producers confirmed the show would offer closure and a definitive ending despite the multiple sequel series.
"We were going off of the assumption that we were continuing to go for a while. And then things changed," said Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott Gimple, referring to AMC's announcement in September 2020 that the show would end with Season 11. "I feel that it folded into some plans nicely, it folded into some issues."
Gimple continued, "The finale is about completing The Walking Dead story, not setting up spinoffs. There's room for those spinoffs, but full-on, The Walking Dead finale concludes the story of this 11 years. We didn't want the spinoffs to get in the way of that satisfaction. They live together, I think, very nicely."
Showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang, who co-wrote the Greg Nicotero-directed series finale, echoed Gimple's comments to confirm that the final episode is an ending while allowing for those continuations.
"I think that's right. I think the goal is that, even if there were no spinoffs, it would feel like there is a closure to the show itself," Kang said. "The show itself needs its own ending. But doors are left open, as they so often are in life, and as they were even in the ending of the comic. There's always a story that's continuing once the story that you tell on screen has ended, so that's the spirit."
The Walking Dead: The Last Episodes begin airing Sunday, October 2 on AMC and AMC+. The network has set three Walking Dead spinoffs for 2023, including the Richonne series, but no release dates have been announced.
AMC Networks will tease these new series in The Walking Dead Universe Preview live special airing Sunday, August 7 on AMC.