No one wants The Walking Dead to end anytime soon. We’re only up to Season 5 in a series that already has plans beyond Season 10. But every so often we want reassurance that there is a Master Plan, with showrunner Scott Gimple carrying the secret codes to the show’s future locked in his brain. ‘Cause Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) story is headed somewhere, right?
Scott recently talked to Collider after the Saturn Awards, admitting that he knows next to nothing about the upcoming spin-off/companion series, since he’s not involved. (Rats! Does anyone know anything about it? ... Bueller?) He also doesn’t want to know where Robert Kirkman’s TWD comic book series is headed, although the TV show is always tied to the books and does its own special remix. But Scott does have an idea of where the TV show will end — or at least the big picture feel of The End.
"I actually don’t like spoiling myself on the comic,” Scott said. “I read it as I go. Robert’s offered to tell me the whole thing, so I get general sort of aspects of it. I know the emotional end game of the show, but there’s practical aspects to the end game that I want to keep with the comic. With these characters, you definitely have to think of the emotional end game and that is very much a part of where I’m headed. But I want to have the flexibility to change the practicals [with] the comic and I don’t want Robert to spoil the whole series for me."
Robert Kirkman already told The Writers' Room that he expects the comic books to outlast AMC's TV show. "Like, I actually do want the comic book series to outlast the show,” RK said, “and because of that I can never tell anyone involved in the show what my plans for ending the series are, because there's the very real possibility that it could end up on the show before I get to do it in the comics, which is not how I want to do things."
RK also warned the Daily Dead, back in 2012, that he had plans for the comics version of Rick Grimes. "...I know where his story is going, but I promise that Rick will not survive the entire run of the book.” So it's possible the end game for TWD the TV show — whether it ends in Season 12 or whenever — will involve the death of Rick Grimes. But that's a pure guess. Rick could die before then, or maybe they'll keep him alive and leave his story hanging, like he rides off into the zombie apocalypse sunset. (Doubt it, though.)
But even just knowing that Scott has a vision for how the TV show will end is a good sign —not just for us as viewers but for him as showrunner. That job is fraught with peril, but hopefully five, six or seven seasons from now, Scott will still be the man with the plan.
Do you have any theories on how TWD the TV show will end, or is that way too far in the future to even guess?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.