While some showrunners risk fan disappointment as the cost of maintaining quality control and not overstaying their welcome, the minds behind The Walking Dead have, let’s say, differing opinions. Producer David Alpert appeared at a Producers Guild conference over the weekend, where he discussed the challenges inherent in working from established source material, even for a show that has long since deviated from the comic book it’s based on. “I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what season 10 is gonna be,” Alpert said, according to The Playlist—a comment that’s somewhat surprising, considering The Walking Dead’s fifth season doesn’t premiere until the fall, and 10 is a much bigger number than five.
Still, Alpert says they’re not really thinking five seasons ahead right now; they’re actually thinking seven seasons ahead. “We know where season 11 and 12… we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we’re lucky enough to get there,” Alpert said of these important future scenes they already have mapped out, such as “Zombie Attack” and “Discussion of Zombie Attack.”
And with its ratings remaining huge, and AMC even committing to a Walking Dead spinoff, it’s certainly not unthinkable that the network could cling to the show for that long, until The Talking Dead drives a visibly graying Chris Hardwick into a Howard Beale-like rant about how he just can’t take chatting about zombies anymore. Anyway, have no fear, they’ve got stories for years—like how ‘bout a crazy wedding? Where zombies happen, and doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.
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