According to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Walking Dead has at least three years left of material to work with. The long-running AMC show is returning in less than two weeks, and will feature the highly-awaited Whisperer War.
At this point, The Walking Dead is one of the most well-known dramas on television. Although the show saw declining ratings in recent seasons, it remains popular for its large group of characters and zombie backdrop. Last season saw a number of developments. Andrew Lincoln exited the show, but he will headline a trilogy of movies for AMC as Rick Grimes. Alpha and her band of Whisperers emerged as a formidable threat. Going into the tenth season, a few notable things are already confirmed, such as the exit of Danai Gurira's Michonne. In addition to a new season, AMC is developing a new Walking Dead spin-off. It doesn't sound like The Walking Dead as a whole is going away anytime soon. However, many fans are wondering when the main show will conclude. According Jeffrey Dean Morgan, there are three years left of storylines to cover.
Speaking at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles for The Walking Dead season 10 premiere (via Variety), Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who has portrayed the infamous Negan, was asked when he thinks the show will conclude. He believes if the show continues to follow the comic, there are at least three years left of storytelling.
"You don’t want to run it into the ground. Me personally, I’d say let’s go out on top. Let’s go out still being the number one show in the world. Whether or not that happens, I don’t know. I think if we just stuck with the comic book, we’ve still got another three years. We do deviate a lot, but I think there’s probably a good three years of material there."
Morgan's calculations are not off. In the comic book, the Whisperer storyline was near the end of the series. It was the penultimate arc before the characters ventured into a new area called the Commonwealth. Writer Robert Kirkman abruptly ended the series this year, providing a time-skip issue to wrap up the long-running comic. If The Walking Dead continues to adapt the storylines, three years is about right.
The Walking Dead is in a peculiar spot when it comes to reaching its conclusion. While the show has deviated from the source material on numerous occasions, it has stayed faithful in adapting each of the core comic book storylines. The show could go in a completely original direction. However, a number of fans feel the show should be in its ending phase. Andrew Lincoln leaving was a big deal, having been the protagonist for so many years. Norman Reedus has stepped up, but with the upcoming absence of Michonne, The Walking Dead has lost two fan-favorite characters. With Fear the Walking Dead, the new spin-off, and movies, the franchise doesn't actually need the main show going forward, and perhaps that's something AMC is realizing. But, time will tell. It will be interesting to see where The Walking Dead is three years from now.
The Walking Dead season 10 premieres October 6, on AMC.