After 10 seasons, AMC’s flagship undead hit The Walking Dead is coming to an end — but in the wake of the smaller, pandemic-filmed end to Season 10 — showrunner Angela Kang is promising a return to form the show’s swan song.
Kang told Entertainment Weekly the super-sized final season, which will consist of 24 episodes and roll out across this year and 2022, will bring the series back to the usual “scope and scale” fans have seen during the earlier years of the show’s run. The series has featured everything from massive wars, hordes of zombies, and everything in-between over the past decade, and that level of storytelling will return in the last run of episodes. Which makes sense, considering the show is expected to introduce the biggest community of survivors ever seen in the comics for its final arc.
“[W]e’ll start seeing more stories again like the first episode — it's got everybody on Earth in the episode,” she said. “And tons of zombies and lots of action and fun and intrigue, and locations we've never seen, and things like that. So just stylistically, there will be a change from these six [pandemic-shot bonus episodes] that we just watched back into our normal season.”
As for the stories that will drive the final season, Kang confirmed that we will be learning more about the new community teased at the end of Season 10 — which many assume is The Commonwealth seen in the comic series — and long-running stories for fan favorite characters will come to a head. She teased a story for Daryl (Norman Reedus) that will put him in a “very different context,” likely following up on the mysterious romantic relationship teased in those bonus episodes.
Then there’s the simmering drama between Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), which Kang revealed would come to a head with a “big, important story” that will be “fascinating.” That will jump off from the flashback story told in the bonus episodes, which delved into Negan’s origin story and introduced his late wife Lucille (Hilarie Burton).
“He got to the point where he remembered that she wanted him to fight, and she understood the importance of being with other people. That's one of the things that she says to him: 'We can't make it on our own. It's never going to happen,’” she said. “And Negan, he's really thinking about the legacy of his wife and what she hoped for the two of them and what she hoped for him and has decided, 'You know what? I've earned my place here and I'm going to prove that I have a place here. And if that means I've got to face Maggie, even though that's something that is uncomfortable for me to face, and I don't want to, and it scares me in some ways, that's what I have to do.’"
The Walking Dead’s 11th and final season kicks off Aug. 22 on AMC. The network plans to ration them out through the next year and a half, and the series finale will likely fall in late 2022. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty of Walking Dead to come. There’s a Daryl/Carol spinoff series on the way, plus an anthology, not to mention the Rick-focused films in the works. Those are, of course, in addition to current spinoff series World Beyond and Fear the Walking Dead.
So yeah, the OG survivors might be hanging it up — but there will be more walkers than ever out there for years to come.