What if The Walking Dead entered a ‘What If’ universe?

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Chloe Garcia as Judith - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Chloe Garcia as Judith - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

Forbes recently had an article titled “Netflix Should Buy AMC Networks And ‘The Walking Dead’,” and it got me thinking about how it really is a fictional universe. What if The Walking Dead could be remade, rebooted, and re-blended into a zillion different ideas? Of course, it could be, with plenty of different approaches to anger and appease the fans while making the critics roll their beautiful eyes. What if The Walking Dead fell off a sort of creative “what-if” cliff?

Fans of Marvel Comics might know exactly what I mean. In that universe, What If ponders alternate realities in the Marvel universe, narrated by a character known as The Watcher. So you’d have comic book issues such as “What If Spider-Man had Joined the Fantastic Four?” and so on. Basically, the idea was to creatively explore different storylines, different character arcs, and even different superpowers. So what are some engaging “What If” scenarios for The Walking Dead?

Interesting “What If” scenarios for The Walking Dead

In order for a “What If” series to be successful, it seems you’d really want to push it to its limits. Still, sometimes all we’d need is to have a few tweaks here and there. As a major possibility, we might ask what if Shane (Jon Bernthal) had actually killed Rick (Andrew Lincoln). Could you imagine that? Granted, you’d likely need a new actor to play Shane, but the bonkers multiverse potential is through the stratosphere already (as a seemingly rare fan of Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), I also wonder how things might have happened if he lived past season 2).

As for another obvious choice, I would like to examine “What Ifs” about the walkers themselves, such as “What if the walkers could actually run in The Walking Dead universe? Or here’s one: What if the walkers could talk? That already reminds me of the character Clara (Kerry Condon) from season 4, who many at first probably mistook for a walker. I remember first thinking, “Oh no! They’re going to have them talk now!” However, what if The Walking Dead had started with that premise? What was potentially annoying might just become interesting, right?

Weird crossover potential

Walking Dead
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 31: A parade participant in a Zombie Spider-Man costume attends the 2022 Halloween Parade on October 31, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) /

Obviously, this premise is ripe for abuse, which is why it may be the best approach for The Walking Dead universe going forward. With the series basically having long-time detractors already, I think people might as well just have fun with it. Years ago, I already did an article on whether the gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia might survive a walker apocalypse. I can’t say the article was itself a smash hit, but could you imagine if the idea was actually explored in a live-action series?

I did a similar idea with slacker duo characters, too (and I might as well promote it here, too).
On top of that, what about having The Walking Dead crossover into other horror franchises? Going back to Marvel itself, they famously did a series or two where their heroes grappled with a zombie plague. Even without buying an issue, the idea of a zombified Wolverine certainly had the potential to make even non-Wolverine fans say, “Hmmm.” In fact, it’s safe to assume a few horror fans bought an issue or two from that series because why not?

The idea might encourage fans and haters to lighten up

We’ve all heard of toxic fandoms. Heck, some of us have dabbled in those arts from time to time. After all, if you feel passionate enough about a given creative universe, you might let slip a hostile statement or two about critics or maybe about bad decisions made in the series itself. You might also get defensive about certain aspects, perhaps to a comical degree, to where others might tell you to ease up and chill out.

Well, I think a “What If” premise might help people cool their jets a bit and remind us that these are just creative ideas. At the same time, there is potential to bridge gaps between fandoms, as well as between critics and fans. After all, I’m the kinda guy who wrote about the sad rift between regular clowns and creepy horror clowns and how both should be considered viable.

Sure, I never got to hold a clown summit where delegates from each clown camp could bridge the gap between each other, but I generally like the idea of building bridges between people. The creative potential for a “What If” approach to The Walking Dead is certainly there, as it is with any other franchise, and it’s something worth examining.

Next. Final season of The Walking Dead reminds fans why they love this series. dark

What are your thoughts on this “What If” approach to The Walking Dead? What “What If” scenarios would you find interesting?