Fans of AMC's post-apocalyptic zombie thriller The Walking Dead are anxiously waiting for the fast-approaching premiere of the show's sixth season. The low episode count leaves the fans hungry for more, so the natural move was a spin-off series to fill in the gap.
Fear The Walking Dead premiered this summer on AMC to healthy ratings and managed to win over a major audience share, leaving highly acclaimed Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul in the dust. Now that the Fear The Walking Dead season one finale has aired, some cannot help but speculate: could the characters of Fear the Walking Dead eventually cross paths with Rick Grimes and his companions on Walking Dead?
Fear The Walking Dead pits a modern family and a few strangers against the early stages of the emerging zombie virus. Season 1 was certainly a slow-burn, but provided an overall payoff with the mere six episode run it was provided. The original Walking Dead group is located down south in Georgia, while this urban group was situated right outside of Los Angeles. The difference in filming locations and background setting alone set the series apart from the original from the very beginning.
The natural desire is to one day see this new group and the original Walking Dead group meet up, or at least be provided a few cameos and thus a cool glimpse into the future of the Fear group. Robert Kirkman - co-creator of both Walking Dead shows and the Walking Dead comics - has explained the overlaps in timelines of the two series before; however, Fear the Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd recently pointed out to Deadline that there are other obstacles preventing a crossover between the series:
"Well, it’s truly the rules of the universe. I mean our group of survivors in The Walking Dead haven’t even made it as far as Washington D.C. yet, in six seasons, and they are not that far away. So for the Fear characters to make it across the country? For what? I mean why would you go there? I mean how would we motivate our characters to head to D.C., or you know to head to the Southeast. I just don’t think that that’s something that would be a natural outgrowth of who our characters are and where they are when the show begins."
When presented with the fact that most producers would jump at a chance to a crossover of the shows, Hurd made it very clear that she feels that it would compromise the integrity of the franchise:
"Right but that is truly jumping the shark because it’s not an outgrowth of who your characters are and what it is that each wants and needs. You’re trying to contort them so that they’ll fit into a plot line that simply isn’t logical. I think the thing is to care for the characters.
That’s what has enabled The Walking Dead to go into its sixth season incredibly strong, because you care about individual characters be it Rick, Michonne or Daryl Dixon or Morgan. You care about the new characters that are introduced. You know what the rules are and you also know that whatever you expect will happen likely won’t, or if it does it’ll happen with a unique twist. So I think the same will apply to Fear."
Hurd goes on to provide a rather definitive comment on the idea of a crossover:
"You know in The Walking Dead, when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up in a coma, it’s been a month in, so we didn’t see how those institutions that we rely upon begin to fail us and what that does to us. So Fear was an opportunity now to explore that. And going forward we will not be traversing the same terrain either in terms of literal geography or story lines that we’ve seen inThe Walking Dead."
Now, Hurd's comments could simply be a diversion to throw fans off the scent of a possible merging of the characters down the road. One of her jobs as a producer is to create the most engaging shows possible, and the surprise appearance of one or more of the Fear group would no doubt be almost as exciting as the return of Morgan Jones (Lennie James) late in Walking Dead season 5. However, with both Hurd and current Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple having said that no crossovers are planned between the zombies series for the time being, it's best to not expect either Walking Dead show crew to go traveling across the U.S. in the near future.
The success of Fear the Walking Dead has shown that the fan investment in the franchise extends to the entire fictional universe, not just the small scope of the Rick Grimes clan. As such, the possibilities for storytelling all around the country, and in fact the world, are virtually endless, just so long as fans don't get burned out on zombies anytime soon.
The Walking Dead returns for Season 6 on Sunday, Oct 11th, 2015, at 9:00 PM eastern time on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will return for a second season in 2016.