The Walking Dead can rule during Game of Thrones absence

The Walking Dead has a chance to expand its universe without having to worry about competition from Game of Thrones until 2022.

During the HBO presentation at the 2020 Television Critics Association presentation, executives revealed that the Game of Thrones spinoff won’t arrive on television screens until 2022, paving the way for The Walking Dead to expand its footprint with more shows and movies.

HBO president of programming Casey Bloys told the gathering of television reporters and critics that work on the Game of Thrones sequel, House of the Dragon, is at a very early stage. Writers are still working on scripts. When asked when the show might debut, his response was vague: “My guess is sometime in 2022.”

With Game of Thrones ending its impressive run in 2019, waiting until 2022 seems like a risky gamble given television viewing habits change quickly. Will fans still be interested after a three-year hiatus? It’s hard to say, especially given that the prequel is set 300 years before the flagship series.

It would be one thing to wait in anticipation to find out how things are going to Sansa at Winterfell, or to see what life is like for Jon Snow. That might keep viewers eager. Waiting to see a brand new show with no ties to the original is a risky move, even if House of the Dragon follows the story of the intriguing but doomed House Targaryen.

In the meantime, AMC is plotting a bright interconnected future for The Walking Dead without forcing fans to wait years and years. With the flagship show already renewed for season 11 and no end in sight, as well as Fear the Walking Dead set for a big story arc in season 6 and a brand new limited series with World Beyond, the TWD Universe is already laying the foundation for greatness. And that’s not even counting the Rick Grimes movies planned for wide release in theaters.

The Walking Dead has an opportunity to grow into an even bigger franchise, on par with Star Wars and Star Trek as it moves beyond one show and branches into a larger universe to attract new fans while delivering exciting new stories for longtime viewers.

The best part of it is that AMC won’t have to worry about competition from Game of Thrones, because the foundation will be firmly established by 2022.

Game of Thrones debuted a year after The Walking Dead and ran for eight critically acclaimed seasons. While The Walking Dead cast has always been snubbed by the major award shows, Game of Thrones was embraced, racking up an impressive collection of accolades over the years.

Season 8 was the first time that fans and critics spoke out against the show, with many viewers unhappy at the pacing, the way character stories were wrapped up and even with how dark the show was. (The show is known for being dark, of course, but this particular darkness was more literal than figurative) The Walking Dead also struggled in season 8, but it has rebounded spectacularly in seasons 9 and 10, and fans are eager to see what happens in the back half of season 10.

The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 23 at 9pm on AMC.