The Walking Dead cast

Robert Kirkman explains how The Walking Dead changed the way he writes

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Jul 19, 2018, 3:33 PM EDT

Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman says he's learned a lot about planning ahead from his work on the mega-hit zombie show, and these are lessons that he's brought to bear on his exorcist horror series Outcast.

Speaking to IGN during the filming of Outcast's second season, Kirkman says the storytelling twists and turns he uncovered in bringing The Walking Dead to TV made him eager to lay the groundwork for similar surprises and payoffs in his other work.

"Seeing what the potential of Walking Dead was and how it's grown wound up inspiring me," said Kirkman, who helped adapt the show and its spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, from his own comic series with artists Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. 

"When I started Outcast, I was filled with thoughts like 'Oh, this could go here' and 'This part could last this long' and 'This could turn into something else eventually.' And it makes you do a lot more legwork early on, and so I think that Outcast is a much more tightly plotted, much more well-thought-out universe that will have cooler payoffs. I feel like it has a better agenda driving it so that there's a clear path.

"Even from minute one on Outcast we knew where the story was building to, which is something we didn't have on Walking Dead."

Based on another of Kirkman's comic series, with art by Paul Azaceta, Outcast stars Patrick Fugit as a man trying to rebuild his life after experiencing a demonic possession, only to find more demons lurking among the local townsfolk.

Unfortunately for fans of the show, there's a chance that it won't get to pay off every plot thread that Kirman sets down. The second season of Outcast was shot back in 2016, and its U.S. release has been long delayed, making a third season seem less likely. IGN reports the cast have been released from their contracts, and one star, Reg E. Cathay, sadly passed away in February of this year. 

By contrast with OutcastThe Walking Dead shows no sign of slowing down, even in spite of the departure of star Andrew Lincoln in the show's upcoming ninth season. It's been announced that Dan Fogler, who plays sidekick Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts movie series, is joining the cast in the upcoming season in an unknown role as the series jumps forward in time. 

Outcast returns for its second season on Cinemax on Friday July 20. A release date for Season 9 of The Walking Dead is expected to be announced at San Diego Comic-Con this week.

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