Robert Kirkman explains how the Outcast TV series will expand on the comics

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Oct 27, 2015, 6:37 PM EDT

After bringing the zombie genre back to undead life, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's next horror TV project will tackle demonic possessions with an adaptation of his and artist Paul Azaceta’s Image Comics series, Outcast.

Outcast centers around Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit), a young man whose loved ones have been victims of demonic possession since he was a wee child. As an adult, Kyle tries to discover what is causing those possessions with the help of hard-drinking Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), and why he has special abilities. But what he could uncover may have some major consequences and “mean the end of life on Earth as we know it.” Now, that doesn't sound good.

First published in 2014, there are only 14 issues out so far. Interestingly enough, before it even hit comic-book store shelves, Outcast was being developed as a television series by Kirkman, and it was premium cable channel Cinemax that snagged the rights to the series set to air in 2016.

In a recent interview with Comic Book Resources during New York Comic-Con a few weeks back, Robert Kirkman discussed how closely the TV series will stick to the story being told in the comics.

We're definitely going to be, you know, straying from time to time and adding new elements and doing that kind of thing. But, listen, you watch "Walking Dead" Season Four, Five, Six -- they're actually very close to the comic, but there's new elements added. We keep things exciting, and "Outcast" is very much going to be like that. But, one of the cool things about what we're doing with "Outcast" is that, you know, a comic book -- 22-page story -- is only going to fill about 18 minutes of content in a television show. So we're actually expanding the cast, adding new characters and adding storylines to what we have in the comic book series. So the comics will be adapted, not exactly, but, you know, very closely. But then there will be new things added like Reg E. Cathey is playing ... Chief Giles ... who is a very minor character in the comic, which is -- while sometimes I can't even remember his name -- but he's a big character in the show.

Fair enough. Executive producer Chris Black then expanded on Kirkman’s comment, talking about how they were planning to expand on the universe of the comics for the TV series.

First of all, it's like the reason we're doing this -- the reason we're making this into a TV show, and the reason Cinemax bought it, is because of the comic. So, I mean, it is the starting point. It's the template. It's the -- it's what we go to, in terms of who these characters are, and what their long series arcs are, what the mythology of the show is. You know, it always comes back to that. I mean, we're not just going to do, you know, Issue #1 as the pilot and then like, "Okay, we're off!" You know, "Thanks, Robert!" ... But, like Robert says, you know, you -- because of just the nature of the comic, you don't have enough material. And, to some extent, it's even more than that, in that you have to -- a television show is a different kind of thing. You know, you have to create something separate and unique from what the comic is ... Robert created this world and he filled it with these people and he sort of set all of these things into motion, and then it's like, "Okay, guys, here's -- here's your world to play in." And then it's sort of -- you discover stuff that maybe Robert didn't necessarily plan.

Outcast also stars Gabriel Bateman (Stalker), Brent Spiner (Star Trek: The Next Generation), David Denman (13 Hours), Melinda McGraw (The X Files, Mad Men), Grace Zabriskie (The Killing), Catherine Dent (The Shield, Astronaut Wives Club) and Lee Tergesen (The Americans). Are you looking forward to the upcoming supernatural drama series?

(via Comic Book Resources)