Right now, TWDSeason 5 is filming in the greater Atlanta area, with the premiere coming in October 2014 and the second half airing until spring 2015. Presumably, Season 6 would then pick up the cycle with an October 2015 premiere and end in spring 2016. Rinse. Repeat. If they keep to a 16-episode schedule, they may continue to film from May to November every year, with filming of the new season starting about a month or so after the previous season finale airs.
You may have already heard about the 15-foot wall going up around several houses in Senoia, Georgia, to be used for Walking Dead filming. Last we heard, the Senoia City Council approved a request to construct the temporary wall from mid-September to the end of November, which would match filming for the second half of Season 5 until the Season 5 finale.
However, a new report from the Times-Herald updates that Stalwart Films and Raleigh Studios requested a permit for the wall "through at least November of 2016, with the option of extending them through January of 2019." Mike Riley, location manager for Stalwart Films, told the City Council, “We are fairly certain we will be here at least another year and a half with this current set" with a “good possibility” that it will extend beyond that. The City Attorney said they can't take action that would bind a future council so the permits couldn't be extended beyond December 31, 2015. But they can (and probably will) return to the issue next year to extend the permits.
Why is this wall going up, and why will it be there for so long?
*Spoilers ahead from the comic books*
The running theory — and it looks like a safe one — is that the wall will mark the site of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, as depicted in the Walking Dead comic books. The Safe-Zone is a walled block of streets in Alexandria, VA, first seen by our group after meeting Father Gabriel Stokes (who may be played by Seth Gilliam on TV), after the run-in with The Hunters (cannibals), and right after the big confrontation with Eugene just outside Washington, D.C.
If they’re going to start filming the walled area in mid-September, maybe the mid-season finale (which will probably be shot in early August) includes meeting a recruiter for Alexandria, as in the books?
Either way, Alexandria is a place Rick Grimes and company head to a short time from now in the comic book story — and it’s where they still are in the story to date. Alexandria is first seen in Issue 69 and they are now up to Issue 129, so that’s a lot of story in Alexandria (including a two-year time jump into the future). But it’s not like it’s the only location. There are other communities, which we might see in Season 6 or beyond, including The Hilltop Colony, The Kingdom, and The Sanctuary, which is the home base of mega-villain Negan and The Saviors.
But that’s why this wall may be around to 2019, because it’s where story is still being told in the comics 60 issues later. But does that mean the locations might change in the comic books right around the Season 10 mark, or even beforehand if they decide they don’t need the extension option past 2016? Maybe Rick and company leave the area, and head somewhere new?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.