As one of our Top 10 Most Gruesomely Violent TV Shows, The Walking Dead is known - and defined - as much for its slow burn character development as for its blood, gore, and exploding zombie brains. San Diego Comic-Con reaffirmed this, with AMC debuting an epic trailer for season 6 that featured the most deteriorated, rotten walkers yet, as well as the standard bleak tone fans have come to expect from the show.
At the Hall H panel, AMC also showed the first full-length trailer for its prequel spinoff show, Fear the Walking Dead, which will take viewers - and a new crop of characters - back to the beginning of the end of the world. That said, with The Walking Dead showing no signs of slowing, and its prequel series literally moving away from any type of (happy) ending, it would seem the show - and apocalypse - could go on forever. Fortunately for the characters (and unfortunately for the fans), creator Robert Kirkman has a conclusion in mind for the day his zombie series eventually bites the dust. And it's not what you'd expect.
The surprising word comes from Kirkman himself (hat tip to Variety), who recently sat down with Marc Maron on the comedian's WTF podcast. During the interview, Maron asked the creator if he would ever consider solving the undead problem, thus ending the apocalypse altogether. Kirkman did not provide a definitive answer, though he did tease a potential conclusion.
Maybe. You never know. I do hope that ‘The Walking Dead’ goes on long enough that when it ends, it’s like, 'Good thing we took care of those zombies.'
'Taking care' of all those walkers, though, will prove nearly impossible considering how quickly they seem to metastasize and increase in numbers. Like the mythical Hydra, with each head (walker) the humans manage to cut off (shoot), two seem to grow in its place. Which means, in order to bring an end to the apocalypse once and for all, Rick and Co. will have to do a lot more than gun down the zombies one by one; they'll have to find a cure.
Such an optimistic and neat ending may seem out of place in the five-season deep dystopian world, but Kirkman promises that it's all part of the overall plan.
People talk about how ‘The Walking Dead’ is very bleak, and if you take a certain cross-section of the story, yeah, it’s horrible. People [are] getting their loved ones eaten and they’re having a horrible time. But I see the story from beginning to end, over many, many years, so I think it’s a very hopeful story about humanity overcoming this insurmountable, apocalyptic situation … it’s just gonna take them a long time to do it.
Indeed, the gradual pace the show is simultaneously lauded and criticized for certainly underlines the characters' extreme struggles for survival - and just how long they've managed to evade death (or 'undeath'). And the longer it continues, the more at odds a happy ending will feel in context with the pre-established world and tone. That said, the show could always go the 'I Am Legend route' and end with the chance for or possibility of hope, rather than a concrete promise.
Whatever the case, though, fans shouldn't worry about an end happening anytime soon, as Kirkman plans on completing "at least 300 issues" of his popular comic before even considering stopping. And since producer David Alpert has already confirmed the series is planned out through season 12, the survival of The Walking Dead ultimately depends on the viewers.
Fear the Walking Dead will debut Sunday, August 23rd, 2015 at 9 p.m. on AMC. The Walking Dead season 6 is slated to begin airing on AMC starting October 11th, 2015.