The Walking Dead's veteran directing-producer Greg Nicotero will not be stepping back behind the camera on the six pandemic-proof season 10 episodes now in production in Atlanta, Georgia. These previously announced new bonus episodes, part of an extended tenth season in response to delays caused by COVID-19, are planned for an early 2021 release on AMC as a lead into Walking Dead's eleventh and final season premiering later next year. Nicotero, the show's special effects makeup artist turned director since its second season in 2011, encountered scheduling conflicts with Creepshow — the anthology horror series streaming on AMC-owned Shudder.
"Originally, Angela [Kang, showrunner] had called and asked me if I wanted to [direct season 10 bonus episodes] and, unfortunately, because of when the pandemic hit and everything shut down, Creepshow was set to start shooting, and we had prepped the first two episodes," Nicotero told Rotten Tomatoes. "I think in my head originally, I was like, 'Well, I can shoot Creepshow and then run over and do Walking Dead,' and then I thought, 'That's insane. I would literally die.' Until January, I'm all the way up to my eyeballs in Creepshow."
Nicotero directed the original season 10 finale, "A Certain Doom," which premiered on October 4 after the episode missed its original April 15 air date due to the coronavirus.
Kang and series lead Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, previously revealed this half-dozen batch of episodes would be smaller in scope and scale because of restrictions in place from the many health and safety protocols allowing The Walking Dead to film amid the pandemic. In September, Kang said the episodes were designed and scripted in such a way to accommodate a safe shoot.
"The Walking Dead stuff is really intended to be these kind of episodes that are a little more production-friendly … because you’re dipping your toes in the water a little bit," Nicotero said. "With Creepshow, we're primarily a stage show, so we don’t have to go out into the world very often, and that allows us to be a little bit more self-contained."
He continued, "Fortunately, not a lot of people kiss in either show, so we're not worrying too much about somebody kissing someone. It's definitely a change in the way that we are accustomed to doing things, but so far, so good."
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Series veteran director David Boyd, who has directed nearly a dozen episodes since season 2, is behind the camera for "Home Sweet Home." This first episode airing in 2021 reveals what happens when Maggie (Lauren Cohan) sees her husband's killer, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), for the first time in years.
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead returns with new episodes early 2021 on AMC.