Episodic anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead will tell tales through different formats and mediums, including animated and musical episodes. Series creator Scott Gimple, the chief content officer for all things Dead, describes the Walking Dead spinoff as a grab bag where viewers won't know what they're getting until they tune in on Sunday nights. Tales will bring back old favorites and introduce never-before-seen characters for stories taking place "all over the Walking Dead timeline, and all over the Walking Dead Universe," says Gimple, who shares new details behind the series now in development at AMC.
"We've been playing with the Tales of format for nearly three years now, and tweaking it in all sorts of directions. It's been an incredibly fun challenge," begins a statement from Gimple read aloud by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick during Sunday's Walking Dead Universe Preview Special. "Yes, there's going to be stories told with old favorites, there are also going to be stories told with brand new characters. These stories are from all over the Walking Dead timeline, and all over the Walking Dead Universe."
"We may be doing different formats and possibly utilizing animation, music, different mediums," Gimple's statement continues. "We want to surprise people every week with what they will be getting."
The franchise experimented with animation in The Walking Dead: Red Machete, a six-part short-form web series that aired in 2017 and 2018. Telling the story of the red-handled machete used by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) to slaughter Gareth (Andrew J. West) in The Walking Dead's fifth season, the canonical and live-action Red Machete turned animated in its fourth installment, which featured animation inspired by the style of the comic book.
Hinting at the new series over the summer, Gimple said the spinoff will "take a peek" at past characters early in the zombie apocalypse. A September press release officially announcing the new show describes Tales as "an episodic anthology with individual episodes or arcs of episodes focused on new or existing characters, backstories or other stand-alone experiences."
Michael Cudlitz, who portrayed Abraham Ford in multiple seasons of The Walking Dead, has strongly hinted at his return in Tales of the Walking Dead. Ryan Hurst, the actor beneath the fleshy mask worn by Beta of the Whisperers, also teased a prequel or origin story for his character in the new spinoff.
In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gimple said he was looking to expand the Walking Dead brand through "traditional stuff, non-traditional stuff, stuff people don't expect." Speaking to THR again late last year, the former Walking Dead showrunner declared plans for a wide range of miniseries, specials, and other short-form series.
Such projects, not bound by the traditional 16-episode structure of most seasons of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead, also allow unrestricted creativity and the ability to play with a variety of tones.
Gimple said he's mulled over something lighter that goes "full comedic," as well as a project focused on just a single survivor in the zombie apocalypse, akin to Cast Away or Omega Man. With Tales on the way, it's feasible we see the return of killed-off characters like the Governor (David Morrissey) or Bob (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.), who lived for a time on their own.
In addition to Tales of the Walking Dead, which is so far undated by AMC, Gimple and Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang created a sequel spinoff focused on the Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride) characters due. The untitled Daryl/Carol series is due out in 2023.
The Walking Dead Season 10 finale, "A Certain Doom," premieres Sunday, October 4 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.