After Sunday night’s gory and explosive episode of “The Walking Dead,” creator Robert Kirkman has opened up about the coming spinoff series. Speaking at a panel at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, he revealed details of the new show’s timeline, as well as how it will fit into the pre-established universe.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 36-year-old writer spoke at the “Creative Activism” panel at SXSW Saturday, where he fielded questions about the new show, titled for now “Fear the Walking Dead.” The first thing he did was clear up exactly why a spinoff was being made.
“From the beginning of the show one thing we’ve heard is, ‘What’s going on over here or there?’ So the intent of the new show is to expand that world and show another corner of the United States and what’s happening there,” he said.
The new show will take place in Los Angeles and detail how the West Coast dealt with the zombie apocalypse. As previously reported, “Gang Related” star Cliff Curtis and “Gone Girl” actress Kim Dickens have signed on already. They’ll play parents who are forced to make some seriously difficult survival calls at the onset of the outbreak. While casting and vague location details are exciting, perhaps the biggest draw to the series will be seeing the zombie apocalypse’s grim origins.
“The timeline is taking place a little bit earlier timeframe than the original show. Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and was like, ‘Oh, man, zombies, weird!’ We’re going to possibly see that unfold a little more in the other show,” Kirkman said.
Admittedly that sounds cool, but Kirkman made a point of not calling it a “prequel” as the show will eventually catch up to the current timeline on “The Walking Dead” and run concurrently with that series. While he wants it to stand on its own feet as an exploration into a different area of the country, fans of both series will be rewarded for their viewership with minor winks to the first season of “The Walking Dead.”
"We're going to be focusing a little bit earlier," Kirkman said at a different event in Austin, according to USA Today. "There will be hints and moments in the second show that if you go back and watch the first season of ‘The Walking Dead’ will inform some of the discoveries that they had. It's going to be cool. We are trying to form an overall tapestry of a TV universe."
It seems likely that “Fear the Walking Dead” will feature several nods to the first six episodes of the original, and possibly more from its run, soon to be five seasons. Fans will likely be excited to see a new crop of survivors discover the intricacies of Kirkman’s particular brand of “end of the world” such as learning that all humans are infected (something that took two seasons for Rick’s group to learn) or the fall of the CDC, which actor Noah Emmerich said he’d be open to exploring. In addition, a character that left “The Walking Dead” in its first season has been teasing a return.
In any case, for good or ill, viewers will be stuck with two full seasons of the coming spinoff to one of the most popular dramas on TV. The show is expected to premiere sometime in the summer of 2015.