The Walking Dead season 9 showrunner Angela Kang says that AMC's zombie TV show doesn't have a definitive ending just yet. Acclaimed filmmaker Frank Darabont developed Robert Kirkman's famed Walking Dead comics for television way back in 2010, starting off with only a handful of episodes in season 1. Although the drama series got off to a decent start, it didn't become the global phenomenon that it is today until at least a few seasons later.
Even though The Walking Dead season 9's ratings have been on a decline, AMC is still pushing forward with plans to expand the universe even more. In 2015, they launched The Walking Dead's first companion series, Fear the Walking Dead, but that was only the beginning. AMC recently put former Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple in charge of overseeing the entire zombie franchise at the network, not only managing the overarching aspects of both shows but also developing ideas for the next decade of Walking Dead content. And it seems that the network wants the flagship series to remain on the air for the duration of the franchise's life cycle.
Speaking with Screen Rant and a handful of other outlets in a roundtable interview prior to The Walking Dead season 9 premiere, executive producer Angela Kang said that there isn't an ending in sight just yet for the flagship series, despite it being on the air for so long already. Here's what Kang said:
"I think because the comic is continuing to go, it's almost at every stage of the big storylines that have been in the comic, because it was being written as I was on the show, I was like, 'Okay, this is clearly - this show has to end because Robert [Kirkman] is never going to top that.' And then it's like he comes up with the next arc, and I'm like, 'Okay, that's actually pretty great.' And then I'm like, 'That's definitely the end.' And then he comes up with like the Whisperers, and I'm like, 'Well... sh*t.' There's so much more story, so it's been like an evolving thing because he has so much great grist in it that we don't know where the next arc ends. So, I guess we'll see where it goes."
Over the years, The Walking Dead and HBO's Game of Thrones have routinely been compared to one another, not for their content but rather for their popularity on television. Plus, they are both based on pre-existing properties, the latter of which follows George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novel series. Both shows differ in many ways, but the key distinction here is that Game of Thrones is based on a story that has a definitive ending (though it hasn't been published yet), so HBO's series was always going to have a conclusion, which will come with season 8 in 2019. The Walking Dead, on the other hand, is based on a comic book series that is still going.
While The Walking Dead TV show doesn't follow the comics to the letter, they're both on the same general path - and the show is quite a ways behind. Just as Kang says, whenever it looks like Kirkman's comic is going to end, he comes up with yet another story arc to tell. As long as The Walking Dead comic continues to run, it seems that the TV show will do so too. There may come a time when The Walking Dead producers will decide to call it quits (just as Game of Thrones' creators have done, even though Martin believes there's enough material for 13 seasons), but that doesn't seem to be on the table for now.
The Walking Dead season 9 airs Sundays on AMC.