Season four of AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead may be in the books, but when has that ever stopped people from talking about the massively popular series? The end of a season is as good a time as any to think about the future, and comic book creator, and executive producer on the show, Robert Kirkman recently talked about what lies ahead for both the series and comics. He hints about Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) future, the impending spin-off, and when fans can expect to see one notorious villain make the jump from page to screen. And if you’re like many of us, and the comics don’t come nearly fast enough, there’s also news about additions to the ever-growing series of Walking Dead novels.
Despite the fact that Daryl Dixon doesn’t appear in the comics that serve as the source material, he’s by far the best, most consistent character in the series. He’s also a fan favorite, so much so that many have been clamoring to see him make the opposite transition as most of the characters, to move from the show onto the pages of the comics. Talking to MTV, Kirkman says:
I like that Daryl is the element of the show that is an agent of change, that really affects every story as we try to adapt them. Losing that by putting him in the comic would do a disservice to the show, and the comics. As much as I love Norman Reedus, and everybody loves Norman Reedus, you’ll never see Daryl Dixon in the comic. There, I said it.
As good as Daryl is, this is the right decision. He is and always has been the key difference between the comics and the show. No matter how closely the series has followed the source material at times, Daryl’s mere presence is a push for the show to become its own distinct entity. And there are enough characters and threads going right now that the comics don’t need another addition to deal with, and plopping him in the middle of the action would be an awkward move.
And though we haven’t heard much news on the matter in a while, the spin-off that the network announced a while back is still very much in the works. At the current rate, it is on pace to hit the air sometime next year. Kirkman adds:
As far as the spin-off goes, I’m actively working with [Showrunner] Dave Erickson on that, and we know when our proposed release date is — although I can’t tell you that, obviously. We’re working towards that show, and it’s gonna be awesome.
It’s hard to talk about the spin-off with any degree of certainty since we know so little about it or what it will entail. While all of this is going on, season five is still plugging away. At the moment, the writers have the season mapped and are hammering out scripts. Even though the last season just wrapped, at least from a fan point of view, production is already scheduled to begin next month on season five.
Now the that David Morrissey’s Governor is dead and gone, comic readers have turned their attention to the next big, key villain, Neegan. Leader of a vicious gang of outlaws called the Saviors, Neegan takes everything the Governor was (in the comics, not the show) and amplifies exponentially. Though his appearance isn’t imminent, Kirkman noted that fans of the show will likely witness the “All Out War” storyline eventually. He says:
I wouldn’t expect Neegan too terribly soon, although he is definitely in the plan. It’s a 99 percent lock that he’s going to be in the show eventually, so be on the lookout for that.
Since I don’t generally have the time to pick up each and every single issue of The Walking Dead, I rely on the collections to catch up. The only problem is that they hit the shelves far too infrequently, and I need something to fill the time. For many in the same boat, Kirkman’s novels, written with Jay Bonasinga, have filled that gap. A fair chunk of Rise of the Governor actually made it isn’t season four. Much of what the Governor does in his two stand-alone episodes is taken from those pages.
Kirkman tells EW, “There is quite a bit of unexplored territory left in the Walking Dead universe and I think people are going to love what Jay brings to this world in this medium.”
While there have already been four novels, another four more are now scheduled. The first chapter of the new series, The Walking Dead: Descent, will be released October 14.