Scott Gimple and Angela Kang on Where ‘The Walking Dead’ Universe Goes from Here

     November 5, 2018

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Spoilers below for Rick’s final episode, “What Comes After.”

Though fans have had time to prepare for Andrew Lincoln‘s Rick Grimes leaving The Walking Dead, his last episode was not what anyone expected. Rick flew off into the sunset, essentially, and then it was announced that he would be returning for multiple TV movies. So how does that all factor into how the series will continue to operate, especially as relates to its expanded universe? “The Walking Dead series is an anchor to all this, spiritually, and we want to make sure that series is healthy and strong,” Scott Gimple, chief content officer for all things Walking Dead, told THR. “There’s a very long plan and within the movies, there’s ways that things could maybe cross-pollinate. But we’re not going to see them fly off in their own helicopters.”

When it comes to telling those stories, Gimple continued: We don’t want to see people doing the same thing, with the same motivations or people with the same lives; it needs to be differentiated from each other in the types of stories that they’re telling, themes and the tones we’re exploring.

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Image via AMC

One of those possible spinoffs could star Lauren Cohan‘s Maggie, where Gimple said that a movie for her character is “absolutely a possibility.” Showrunner Angela Kang added in her interview with THR that as far as Maggie’s story goes on the core show, “That’s the last of her for this season. But we’ve been talking to Lauren and hopefully we’ll get to tell more story for her. We have some things up our sleeve that we’d love to do. A lot of that is a scheduling conversation [as she balances ABC’s midseason series Whiskey Cavalier]. Hopefully that will work out because everyone at The Walking Dead and Lauren would like to continue with Maggie’s story.”

Gimple also said, “If Whiskey Cavalier lights up the world, we’re still going to do Maggie stuff. We’re just going to figure out different ways to do it. It might be me shooting Lauren in between scenes of Whiskey Cavalier, of Maggie in a post-apocalyptic Prague [where Whiskey Cavalier is filming].”

There was also a major time jump at the end of “What Comes After,” one that seems to set up a new generation of heroes — led by Judith Grimes. Gimple told EW that in regards to where that lore might fall in Robert Kirkman‘s comics:

“I don’t know, that’s fascinating. For fans of the comic, the end of episode 905, they’re like, “Oh, this is ‘The New Beginning’,” meaning the storyline in the comic. I mean, we see Magna, and Yumiko, and their group, and that was the beginning of “The New Beginning” storyline in the comics. The last time jump was a jump, but it wasn’t a huge amount of time. This jump is that quantum leap forward from the comic, and it’s a whole new world. It was important to, especially after “All Out War,” get some distance from that story, and be in a whole new reality for Rick and the group. But that was an incredibly dramatic overture to “The New Beginning” that we saw in the comic, which is one of the terrific arcs of the comic. And it was so surprising, and so intense, and so new. I loved that. I was so thrilled that Angela, Matt, and the writers came upon that for 905 — to see Rick’s legacy, and even Carl’s legacy in action in that episode. I think it was unexpected. When it was pitched to me, I was like, “Holy crap. That is it. That is so definitely it.” It got me excited.”

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Image via AMC

Gimple also spoke to THR about how the possibilities for tales within this expanded universe could also include prequel stories on fan-favorite characters who are no longer with the series, and that he’s looking for “the next generation” or storytellers to be part of the expansion. “Seeing other parts of the world and making sure that we’re not trying to do the same thing that Michonne, Maggie and Carol and everybody have been doing. We want to tell different stories but in different corners of the world. That’s the exciting thing about it: there is so much possibility with that and so much of this comes from the audience asking questions over these past eight-plus years.”

However, “oversaturation is a word I’ve been thinking about. We’re not putting all this stuff out at once but have a very long view of everything. And we’re not going to show them all at the same time.”

Kang also spoke to her hopes for how fans take Rick’s final episode, and the hope it might leave them with:

“The sense of Rick’s great heroism. The love that this group has for each other and that he had for them. I hope from the ending [with Rick’s survival and the time jump] that they take away a sense of hope. It was very emotional to see and once we cast our wonderful young Judith [Cailey Fleming, who played young Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens], it was special for the cast and crew to see her step on the set. She looked so much like Sarah Wayne Callies [who played Judith’s mother, Lori Grimes]. This child, who had no business surviving pregnancy, has made it and is thriving in this world. I hope viewers take away some of the excitement of the story that will continue as we dive into the next chapter of the comic book stories, where there’s a lot of great story ahead.”

For more on The Walking Dead, keep an eye out for our continued coverage as well as these recent stories:

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