In 2020, AMC announced that the long-running series The Walking Dead would conclude with the eleventh season. This was a shock to fans, the cast, and creators. After 177 episodes, The Walking Dead closed out its story but set up events to carry on in several spinoffs. Why did the series end?
After 12 years and a decline in viewership, it was time to put The Walking Dead to bed to create something new. The Walking Dead universe is built on the foundation of the main series and, before this announcement, had already produced one spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead. The series began airing in 2015 and would pave the way for more stories to be told.
TWD Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple had this to say about the end of TWD and what’s to come.
"We have a lot of thrilling stories left to tell on TWD, and then, this end will be a beginning of more Walking Dead — brand-new stories and characters, familiar faces and places, new voices, and new mythologies. This will be a grand finale that will lead to new premieres. Evolution is upon us. The Walking Dead lives."
It is better to go out while there is still a demand for the series instead of waiting for viewership to decline drastically. Season 10 was expanded with six bonus episodes, and the final season would consist of an unheard of 24 episodes.
Why did The Walking Dead end?
In an interview with Collider, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan shared his shock at the news and suggested that Gimple and showrunner Angela Kang were also surprised by the news.
"The news, when we got it in the middle of the pandemic, was a complete surprise, not only to me and the rest of the actors, but to everybody involved in the show from production. Scott Gimple and Angela Kang had no idea either."
In the past few years, AMC has undergone several executive changes, and it appears the new people in charge preferred to end the main series and proceed with the spinoffs that expand the universe.
The Walking Dead spinoffs
Fear the Walking Dead led the way for the numerous spinoffs to come and will conclude its story in the fall of 2023 with season 8, part 2. The final six episodes premiere on AMC on Oct. 22.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond was a limited two-season coming-of-age series that revealed much about the mysterious organization CRM (Civic Military Republic.
Tales of the Walking Dead expanded the universe with standalone stories set in the same world as the main series. This series introduced several new characters in different locations around the United States during different periods after the outbreak.
The Walking Dead: Dead City focuses on Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Morgan) in Manhattan as they come against The Croat ((Željko Ivanek) and The Dama (Lisa Emery), who abducted Maggie’s son Hershel (Logan Kim). Season 1 concluded in July 2023, and the series has been renewed.
The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon will follow Daryl (Norman Reedus) when he arrives in France, trying to understand how and why he is there. He will encounter a new religious group who believe he is the messenger sent to accompany a boy, Laurent (Louis Puech Scigliuzzi), who they believe will lead the revival of humanity. This series premieres on AMC on Sept. 10 and has been renewed.
The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live will continue the stories of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), a couple separated for years. This series will reveal what has transpired since they departed the main series and feature their long-awaited reunion. The series will premiere in 2024.
According to Gimple, TWDU could expand with even more stories to come depending on the reception of the scheduled spinoffs.