Sure, The Walking Dead might be finished as a comic book, but creator Robert Kirkman still has plenty of irons in the fire — undead and otherwise. Oh, and The Walking Dead might be done for now, but maybe not forever?
Kirkman discussed The Walking Dead, as well as some of his other ongoing projects including Invincible and Oblivion Song, as part of Skybound’s Conversation with Robert Kirkman panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
The prolific creator shocked the world just a few weeks ago by dropping the final issue in his acclaimed and hugely successful The Walking Dead comic book series. The story ran for almost two decades, and Skybound went so far as soliciting fake future issues to keep the surprise finale a secret right up until the issue hit shelves.
Of course, the franchise is still alive and well on the small screen — with AMC running the flagship series, Fear the Walking Dead, an untitled spinoff, and an upcoming trilogy of Rick Grimes-centric TV movies.
"I think for the characters inside the story, in hindsight it is a better world than what came before... It's a world where people appreciate things more, where people come together to solve problems instead of fighting," he said in reference to the ending. "It's a world where people have been put through their paces, pushed to their limits, and learned what they're willing to do and not willing to do. I think it's different than our world. A more peaceful world, where people appreciate what they have more... At the end of the day you learn from that, and learn to appreciate what you have more."
So could we see more Walking Dead? Maybe, though Kirkman says he doesn't have anything hard and fast planned at the moment. For now, he said he's enjoying easing back on his workload. Give it a few years, though, and Kirkman says he's not completely against revisiting this world. What form could that possible future story take? One word: Negan.
"Negan is alive, I think that's a cool tidbit. He's still out there, theoretically living in that farmhouse," Kirkman said. "There might be a story to be told there. It's possible that's my escape hatch if my career takes a nose dive [laughs]... but there's no plans as of yet, but there's an option there. Sure."
As for the TV adaptation, Kirkman says he remains happy with how AMC is adapting the franchise to live action, largely because he has the benefit of seeing the bigger picture fans can't see at the time for future story plans. He said he has conversations with Walking Dead producer Scott Gimple when they make changes from the comic canon to discuss which storylines will be "lost" with that change, and also balancing which new narrative options will be gained. He cited the character Carol as a key example of one change he's been proud to see, with the comic side-character becoming one of the strongest survivors of the post-apocalypse.
Kirkman’s long-running superhero comic series Invincible wrapped up in 2018, and the series is now heading to the small screen at Amazon Prime with an adult animated adaptation starring J.K. Simmons and Steven Yeun. Kirkman said they're hard at work on the series, which he teased is like "an hour-long cable drama, but animated."
Kirkman confirmed there are no hard plans for an Invincible continuation in comic book form, even with the show on the way, but he'd be surprised if he never told a new superhero story in that universe at some point.
"These are creator-owned books, so I could just decide 'I'm gonna do 10 more issues of Invincible.' It's very unlikely I die — unless I'm killed at this con for ending The Walking Dead — and not do more Invincible."
The comic Oblivion Song is one of Kirkman’s more recent projects, a Skybound series about a man who makes frequent visits to “Oblivion” to try and rescue inhabitants trapped in the apocalyptic setting. A film adaptation of Oblivion Song is in the early stages of development at Universal Pictures. Sean O’Keefe (Wonderland) is writing the script.
He said the concept came to him as nothing more than an opening scene in his head — a sniper takes aim on two people running from a monster, but shooting these victims with darts actually saves them, sending them to a different dimension. He said that idea stuck with him, and he kept coming back to it until Oblivion Song was born.
Kirkman also revealed he's been working on some secret projects fans should hear about "soon," though no teases as to what those might be at this point.
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