‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Talks Season 5, Spinoff, & the ‘End-Game’

Published 10 months ago by , Updated October 26th, 2014 at 2:25 pm,

The Walking Dead Tyreese Michonne Daryl and Bob Walking Dead Showrunner Talks Season 5, Spinoff, & the End Game

[Warning: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 4 ahead.]

As cable TV’s reigning ratings king, AMC’s The Walking Dead has already accomplished more than many – including the creator of the show’s source material, Robert Kirkman – thought it ever could. But now with the bar set so high and with a horde of insatiable viewers to satisfy, the pressure to deliver another quality season of survival drama has to be higher than ever for the show’s creative team.

However, with tentative plans in place for a 12-season arc, producers and TWD showrunner, Scott Gimple, don’t seem concerned about the popularity of the show dying off (unlike its characters) anytime soon. Of course, most fans aren’t thinking that far ahead yet; they’re just looking forward to seeing how Rick and co. deal with their current predicament at Terminus when season 5 premieres this fall. Fortunately for those fans, Gimple discussed the highly anticipated season, the show’s end-game and the spinoff at the Saturn Movie Awards this past Thursday.

After seeing The Walking Dead nab several awards – including Best Cable Television Series – Gimple talked about the approach to season 5 with Collider, revealing that it may share some structural similarities with season 4.

Said Gimple:

“It’s not mirroring [the previous season] completely… The challenge of the show is every eight episodes, it’s a whole new show. I will say that there may be some slightly familiar structural turns. But for the most part, it is going to be brand new versions of the comic story.”

walking dead next rick and carl Walking Dead Showrunner Talks Season 5, Spinoff, & the End Game

Even fans of the comics have learned to expect the unexpected when it comes to the television adaptation of Kirkman’s books – as the series has deviated from its popular source in some major ways – but Gimple plans on remaining true to the original story as much as possible in the next season and beyond.

“I certainly won’t abandon iconic things from the comic. I definitely want to stick to the comic as much as possible but that’s also impossible with Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and characters that are alive but dead in the comic. There’s a butterfly effect. But that’s actually an incredibly fun part of the [show]. I would say that even the inventions we have on the show are inspired by the comic.”

Gimple’s comments certainly suggest that some of the comics’ best known characters and settings – such as the brutal villain Negan and the Alexandria camp – will make their way into the show eventually. Still, while some developments seem like foregone conclusions, there are plenty of unknowns. As far as the show’s end-game is concerned, Gimple has an emotional one for the characters already in mind; as a huge fan of the comics himself, though, he hasn’t sought out spoilers from Kirkman to map the remainder of the series out completely.

“I would say ‘Yes’ [there is an end-game]. I actually don’t like spoiling myself on the comic. I read it as I go. Robert’s offered to tell me the whole thing so I get general aspects of it. I know the emotional end game of the show but there’s practical aspects, I want to keep with the comic. With these characters, you definitely have to think of the emotional endgame and that is very much a part of where I’m headed. But I want to have the flexibility to change the practicals with the comic and I don’t want Robert to spoil the whole series for me.”

The Walking Dead zombies Walking Dead Showrunner Talks Season 5, Spinoff, & the End Game

Keeping a show compelling, fresh and exciting for 12 seasons seems nearly impossible, especially since some would argue that The Walking Dead hasn’t even been able to do it for four. But with the zombie craze still raging (not just on TV, but in all of popular culture), AMC will certainly keep The Walking Dead going as long as it can. In fact, the network is planning on unleashing more zombies on viewers next year with a TWD spinoff.

Although Gimple admitted he doesn’t know much about the confirmed companion show – which will be set in a new locale with new characters, but in the original show’s world – he did say he would never rule out a potential crossover.

“I have little to do with the spinoff… This I do know. It’s set in the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ but from what I understand, it’s not like Daryl’s cousin or anything… I would never say never [to a crossover between the shows] because if I was a viewer I would say that sounds awesome. But we’re doing our own show. I also think a crossover might be tough because it would take a lot of [license] within the comic story. We’ll see. When we get to all-out war, who knows?”

What we do know is that TV viewers will get plentiful helpings of zombie apocalypse drama for the next few years. Is exploring more of The Walking Dead universe something that excites you? And are you eagerly awaiting the show’s return this fall? Let us know in the comments.


The Walking Dead season 5 premieres this fall on AMC.

Sources: Collider, Rolling Stone

Follow Daniel Johnson on Twitter @UODanJohnson
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  1. Interesting article/int’w.

    I read the comic & like it quite a bit, but my interest for the TV show has been waning in peaks & valleys since the middle of Season 3. BY the end of last season, I’m left doubting if I want to continue watching. It’s more a matter of taste for me however, not so much the quality of the show. It’s disjointed for me & even when an episode is very good, I finds myself un-invested in it. The sense I get is everything is too far away & too far behind. The spirit of community is what made the show for me, such a solid contrast to a zombie-filled & festering world.

    Not so much anymore. Until the S04 finale when they finally, wonderfully reunite, where they promptly end up in a train car. Oy vey!

    In the fall, I’ll watch the first 3 episodes in a row & that’ll determine if TWD becomes compost fodder or not.

    • All I see in the Walking Dead is a soap opera with Zombies. After the first season that’s really all that it ever was. Writers can’t get away with makes 50% of their show forming relationships and “character development” without forwarding he plot at all.

      I gave up hope after this last season that it will get any better and change. Because if you do it once, shame on you, do it twice, shame on me for still watching it.

  2. What I find interesting is Gimple’s approach is different than D.B. Weiss and David Benioff of Game of Thrones as far as the writer (Kirkman/Martin) telling them what the end game is so they can steer toward it. We’ll see which is more successful I suppose.

    However I do find myself thinking, “Current Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple but for how long?” This show goes through showrunners like they’re going out of style.

  3. Revealing that season 5 may share some structural similarities with season 4 is a massive threat in my opinion – since season 4 was the worst season so far. I really hope the story will focus more on the group and the character and plot development will take place within the group and not as isolated stand-alone episodes. If the pacing of the story arc in season 5 is again so slow like in season 4, I’m out for sure … then I’m losing interest in this show.

    It’s really hard to imagine to see 12 seasons of TWD. In the comic book it’s the story takes place in the Alexandria Safe Zone for a veeery long time (in terms of real time – not so much in terms of story time) … it could be very hard keeping this interesting on TV, but I guess it is possible to adapt it somehow into TV – BUT hopefully NOT by stretching the plot and focusing on single characters isolated from the group like in season 4.

    • Kirkman has been saying that this season is gonna hit the ground running from the very first episode lets hope they’re right and I like the ideas of Terminus and the cannibalism, I suggest you play the video games though the basis is on player choice and you as the player affect the story with your decisions! I wouldn’t say its better than the show but its certainly in a differernt league! Even if you don’t have a gaming console its on practically every format such as ipad but its better to play on a console or pc! The game is currently on season 2

      • I also like the idea of Terminus and the way it adapts the Hunter story arc of the Comic book into TV. I really hope the Terminus will take the same role for Rick and his Group as in comics (for the first time they handled a threat pretty well, kept control and punished the Hunters … first the Hunters seemed to be bad ass, but at the end Rick was).

        I’m just worried about more senseless, isolated stand-alone episodes and intolerable slow pacing and repeating. That we’ve seen over and over in Season 4. The focus of plot and characters should be on Rick’s group as a whole.

  4. I can’t wait for the new season, don’t know what all you guys are whining about.

  5. I love the Walking Dead for the very reason nobody is safe. It brings new light to the show as they add new characters. Bring on a spinoff hopefully it airs in between the Walking Dead’s regular season.

  6. I didn’t read comics. What I love about The walking dead TV series characters reunite, divide, still stay safe and every season had a happy ending. Hope this stays and series continues, I loved Hershel’s and Daryl’s characterisation than anyone else’s.

  7. I’ve been with TWD from the start and have loved every minute of it. I loved S4, character development and all. I’ve laughed and cried. Great show. The only TV I watch.