Robert Kirkman Prays The Walking Dead Makes It to Season 7, Defends Internet Spoilers
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is a busy dude. He has a dozen projects going on, in addition to TWD comic books, the TV show, and the mysterious companion show that's supposed to show up in 2015. He joked to Entertainment Weekly Radio that he knows he’s going to be washed up in 5-8 years so he has to strike while the iron is hot.
That iron is red-hot right now, with The Walking Dead TV show currently filming Season 5 and the comic book entering a bold new world in the current “A New Beginning” volume, with Issue 129 coming out July 9. The Season 5 storyline seems tied to action in the "Fear The Hunters" volume, around Issue 66 or so. But there’s plenty of story to be told in what could be another seven seasons.
“I’m still doing the comic … and plan in doing it for many, many more years," Robert said. "And right now I would guess that the issues that we are doing as we speak are material that could be adapted into like a Season 10, 11, or 12, depending on how we adapt things. And we’re not stopping. So five years for now we’ll be doing comic books that could be, you know, Season 15. Now, it’s unrealistic to think that a show could go on for that long, but if the show remains successful, the potential is there for that. … All that said, I’m just hoping and praying we make it to Season 7."
AMC hopes the show will continue way past Season 7 (that may be when Negan shows up, though, no?) and possibly past Season 12, although Chandler Riggs thinks Season 10 is a good place to end the show. Ratings are hot now, but if there’s a huge drop for whatever reason in Season 5 and Season 6, then maybe it would end after Season 7. That seems extremely unlikely, but we do have a spin-off/companion show coming — which could steal away some attention — plus other zombie stuff out there, and you never know who might be killed off or what direction the show might go in to tick fans off and make them leave. We’re not going anywhere, but you never know when casuals might retreat.
Speaking of casual fans...
Not all TV fans are the same. Some of us love spoilers — we can't wait to sleuth out what happens next on The Walking Dead. Some, like Kirkman, don't care for spoilers and don't seek out that information. But RK has come to appreciate how spoiling TWD doesn't actually spoil the show.
Entertainment Weekly asked what it's like for Kirkman when comic book fans spoil some things with their theories — like Terminus being speculated as The Hunters, or Joe's group as The Marauders following that story. Does that ruin the ride for non-comic fans? "Well, first of all I have to say that everyone who watches The Walking Dead show should read The Walking Dead comic," RK said, "just because, then they'll be in the know and then they'll be able to have those very well-informed theories."
Good point! Read the books. Feed Robert Kirkman and his family for many years to come.
Kirkman didn't always have this laissez faire attitude about spoilers, but he's learned that they really aren't that damaging.
"I think that you have to kind of keep spoilers in context, you know," he continued. "As a creative person on the show, especially in the early seasons, it used to drive us crazy because there would be — there were a couple of screen shots of Shane as a zombie that leaked online. And we were flipping out for like a week or two 'cause we were just like 'The whole show's ruined! People are going to know what's happening. This is crazy! What are we going to do?' Then the show aired and the response was as if that spoiler had never happened. And everyone was like 'Oh my God, I can't believe Shane's dead. This is crazy.'"
(Some comic book spoilers ahead)
It's true. Hershel's death was spoiled in Season 4 — it was even speculated that he would be "Tyreesed," and he was — and fans speculated that Lizzie and Mika would get the child killer storyline from the books. But not only did both major events shock casual viewers, they were also shocking for fans who knew what would happen ahead of time. That's just good storytelling — like on Game of Thrones, which is pretty darn slavish to its source material. Even if you know what's happening, it doesn't take away from the show. If just knowing the plot took away the enjoyment, Hamlet would've had one showing and closed.
So RK's takeaway was to realize that the Internet fans are a really vocal and rabid group, but we're a minority. "There's still a ton of people watching TV that don't search for their spoilers online and things like that," he said. "I actually don't mind it now because I feel like there's an audience that seeks that out and for them it adds enjoyment to the show. I don't understand that, 'cause I don't like to be spoiled at all, but you have to recognize that certain people like enjoying entertainment in certain ways." Some of his friends like to be spoiled, sometimes he tells them what's coming up, sometimes he doesn't. "I think we should all just kind of relax. Let's not all be J.J Abrams. I think sometimes spoilers can be a good thing."
And that's why we love him. But that's not to say he likes to dish spoilers himself. He's not going to make it that easy. In this same podcast he even said that Daryl dies in Season 5, which you can't even believe for half a heartbeat. Season 7, though? If we get there … maybe. Especially if they decide to make him meet Negan and Lucille...
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.