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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

Greg Nicotero on The Walking Dead delay and how the pause could help the Rick movie

By Adam Pockross
Greg Nicotero

Back on April 5, AMC aired "The Tower," the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead's 10th season, leaving fans with their breath thouroughly bated as Beta led the horde to the holed-up Alexandrians, with no resolution in sight — what with the coronavirus delaying the finale until later this year. But while there's still no date set for that well-teed-up "special episode" finale, the episode's director, Greg Nicotero, tells us just how close they had gotten to the finish line before pushing things back.

“You know, it wasn’t even really a push as much as… traditionally speaking you end up delivering the final episodes a couple of weeks before the episode airs. You gotta do sound, you gotta do quality checks, you gotta do sound effects and music and visual effects and color timing. There’s a lot of things that happen sort of like right at the last two to three weeks before the episode airs," Nicotero told SYFY WIRE recently while discussing the home entertainment release of Creepshow Season 1 (aka the celebrated creator's other huge job). "So we we’re literally days away from finishing the episode when we had to sort of make sure everybody that was working was safe, so we had to kind of slow that stuff down."

We get it: safety first. Plus, it sounds like this might also be a case of good things coming to those who wait. Last week, we heard star Jeffrey Dean Morgan tease the finale as a mini-Walking Dead movie of sorts. And now Nicotero's take only adds to that tease: "Listen, the episode’s fantastic, wraps up a lot of great stuff from the season, and sets us up perfectly for next season. Corey Reed who wrote the script did a great job, and all the actors and everybody, so it’ll be exciting times when people get the chance to see it.”

The Walking Dead episode 1014 - Beta and two Whisperers

While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on TV production (and so much else), Nicotero tells us the time could prove useful for TWD exec/writer Scott Gimple and the shaping of The Walking Dead's movie universe. The first film is set to follow what happened to Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes after his small screen exit.

“From what I understand from Mr. Gimple, the script is well underway. I’ve looked at a couple of early drafts, but I haven’t seen anything lately, but from what I understand they’re digging away at it. One thing about this kind of situation is people that work at home… you know, writers… they’re able to take advantage of this time, and it’s a good time," Nicotero said.

“I have a feeling that when people push the play button again, there’s going to be a lot of material that’s going to be ready to go, because everyone’s getting scripts, and getting stuff just right to the point where they can get it ready before you start shooting. I think there’s going to be a lot of busy people, hopefully… hopefully in a few weeks?”

We hope so too, oh wise one. Alas, this phone call was a few weeks ago.

Just the same, there's still every hope that the The Walking Dead Season 10 finale will air later this year, and yesterday we learned the show's new spinoff series, World Beyond, is looking to premiere on AMC this fall, while Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead is expected to air later this year as well. And Season 1 of Nicotero's Creepshow is available now on Shudder and AMC, or May 19 on Digital HD, DVD, and Blu-ray.