Over the weekend we came to the end of yet another season of The Walking Dead, AMC's comic book-inspired zombie drama that was once the biggest show on cable and still carries plenty of ratings weight for the network.
At the end of eight seasons (with a ninth on the way), The Walking Dead might not be putting up the numbers it once did, but it remains a pop culture powerhouse and the centerpiece of a full-blown media empire that now includes one spinoff series (so far), countless pieces of merchandise, video games, and more. Whether it continues for another several years with the main series or lives on in the form of spinoffs, The Walking Dead is not going away anytime soon.
The real question isn't whether it stays alive or dies off, but what form it will take next.
That's the chief focus of writer and producer Scott Gimple, who with the end of Season 8 of The Walking Dead has risen from the showrunner of that series (a position he'd held since 2013) to the "chief content officer" of the entire AMC franchise. Chatting with Vulture about where the Walking Dead universe is headed after the end of The Walking Dead's eighth season and the crossover that began Fear The Walking Dead's fourth season, Gimple said even more spinoffs within the franchise are already being explored.
"Right now, I’m working on Fear. I’m working on Walking Dead. I’m working on that new stuff, and there are all sorts of interesting possibilities that I dare not even address specifically," he said. "But the most important thing is that when we’re moving forward, whatever we do is different. That we see the world of The Walking Dead in a new way. We’re trying to achieve a variety, and to show every pocket that we can. There are all sorts of cool things ahead. The focus right now is on The Walking Dead Season 9, which is going to be a new corner of the apocalypse in a lot of ways. It’s my goal to have it all under the same universe, the same umbrella, but to really be distinctive from one another."
So, will that "variety" of Walking Dead storytelling include a movie? Gimple's certainly not ruling it out.
"Hmm, I mean, that kind of variety, that’s we’re talking about. All the differences of the ways we tell the story, yeah, what we can feature and all that. There’s a whole universe of possibilities."
As Gimple said, the focus for him right now is getting the ninth season of The Walking Dead off the ground, but in his new capacity for the franchise his job is about more than just making sure two television shows are delivered on time. It's also about determining what's viable in the coming years, even if The Walking Dead does eventually reach its natural conclusion.
Whether that will include a movie, where that movie would be set, and which characters it would follow are all still very much up in the air. If Gimple and company can find a way to recapture the same spark that made The Walking Dead such a hit on the small screen, though, you can bet AMC would be willing to follow it to the big screen.
What do you think? Can a Walking Dead movie still work after a decade of TV and counting?