Fear the Walking Dead will expand the Walking Dead universe on the small screen, by exploring what happened when the zombie epidemic first broke out - specifically, on the opposite side of the country from where Rick Grimes and his fellow Southerners were. Walking Dead comic book/TV show creator Robert Kirkman co-developed the spinoff with longtime Sons of Anarchy writer/producer Dave Erickson (who's serving as Fear the Walking Dead's showrunner), while the cast is headed by Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam Carey, and Frank Dillane.
Kirkman isn't the only key Walking Dead behind the scenes player involved with developing the spinoff, either. Gale Anne Hurd is serving as an executive producer on both sides of the Walking Dead television universe, while makeup artist and supervisor Greg Nicotero is lending his skills to Fear the Walking Dead too. However, that doesn't mean the Walkers are necessarily going to look pretty much exactly the same on both series.
Kirkman, when interviewed by EW, teased that Nicotero and his makeup artist team "have definitely come up with a very unique take on our early Walkers" for the first episodes of Fear the Walking Dead. It arguably does make sense that the Walkers should evolve somewhat over the course of the series, as the zombie infection spreads among the general human population. Similarly, the world at large will change drastically over the course of the spinoff television program (starting with the Adam Davidson-helmed premiere), as everyone's day-to-day routines are disrupted and abandoned in the face of the zombpocalypse.
The following Fear the Walking Dead set images (posted by EW) focus largely on the show's various cast and crew members, but also offer a glimpse at the series' pre-Walkers version of California. Check them out, below:
The above Fear the Walking Dead screenshot features Alicia Debnam-Carey (The 100), who plays the daughter of Dickens' character - a divorced guidance counselor who's seeing a teacher (Curtis) when the zombie outbreak begins - and the sister of Dillane's character. Debnam-Carey told Variety that that she considers herself "lucky to be part of a world that's already well established and supported" - and she's certainly anxious about presenting the spinoff to Walking Dead fans at upcoming events like the 2015 International Comic-Con, having been warned that they are "some of the most loyal fans of any show on television right now."
AMC has already enjoyed success (both critically and ratings-wise) with one prequel/spinoff TV series, in the form of the Breaking Bad-universe based Better Call Saul. The potential is certainly there for Fear the Walking Dead to offer a similarly insightful and entertaining expansion of the original Walking Dead show - by not exploring the formation of a new social order in the post-zombpocalypse world (like its predecessor), but instead examining what Kirkman has described as "the insanity of civilization crumbling."
Fear the Walking Dead premieres in Summer 2015 on AMC.