Since its 2010 debut, AMC zombie drama The Walking Dead has gone from strength to strength in the ratings, and now the network is expanding the franchise further with a companion series - currently titled Fear the Walking Dead - which is set at the very start of the outbreak and takes place in Los Angeles. Starring Kim Dickens (House of Cards) and Cliff Curtis (Gang Related), the show is expected to air on AMC this summer.
Fear the Walking Dead has also come a long way in a short space of time; after the pilot was completed executive producer Gale Ann Hurd said that the show had not yet received a series order, but AMC has now announced that not only will the show get an additional five episodes in its first season, it has also been green lit for a second season. That pilot episode must have made for a pretty impressive pitch.
Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) and Alycia Debnam Carey (Into the Storm) will also star in Fear the Walking Dead in a story about two families who come together in an attempt to survive after the outbreak. AMC has now revealed the first promotional still from Fear the Walking Dead, and if we didn't already know when the show was set then the fact that the characters are wearing clean, new, virtually unscathed clothes and aren't carrying any weapons would give it away.
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The pilot episode of Fear the Walking Dead was co-written by Robert Kirkman, who wrote the comic book series upon which the original show was based, and producer Dave Erickson, who will also serve as showrunner. In the press release announcing the two-season order, Kirkman had some nice things to say about AMC's investment in the spinoff.
"We feel empowered by this two-season commitment, a serious show of faith from our network partner AMC. I personally take it as a sign that they believe, like we do, that we've accomplished our goal of developing something original that can pay tribute to the original show and expand the world I created while at the same time having something new to say with this story."
Since Rick Grimes slept through the initial days of the zombie outbreak, the events that led to the breakdown of society have largely remained untold. A change of location could be a good way to offer a fresh perspective on the world, and it's pretty safe to assume that character development will still be the key focus of the show. Just don't get too attached to anyone; Walking Dead characters have a nasty habit of being killed off.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays @9/8c on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead will debut with six one-hour episodes in late summer 2015.