Way back in 2003, Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore unleashed The Walking Dead comic book series and described it as a zombie movie that never ended. 13 years later, the comic is a massive bestseller thanks in part to The Walking Dead TV series on AMC. And while Kirkman has spoken about an ending for his comic, he’s not sharing those plans with his network.
While speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Kirkman noted that he knows “exactly how [the comic] ends” and added that he is “always taking baby steps toward that point as I’m telling the story.” Kirkman went on to say that AMC has “no approval over what happens in the comic. So, they’re kind of a hundred percent in the dark, which I guess is pretty remarkable, and I would probably say it’s a testament to the trust that AMC has in me. I mean, I guess to a certain extent, at this point, the comic book is kind of a workshop of future seasons of the show, and it’s fun to think that I can just completely torpedo the story if I wanted to.”
Moore left The Walking Dead comic book after the sixth issue, and Kirkman is currently on an incredible 154-issue run with artist Charlie Adlard that has no announced ending in sight. In terms of story, the comic is several years ahead of the TV series, which is already into its seventh season. The reality is that there is no way that the television show could ever catch up with the events of the comic without skipping storylines or in the unlikely event that the comic will come to a conclusion soon. Characters can always be drawn into a comic, but actors and actresses may eventually want to move on to new projects. Are Walking Dead stars like Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira really going to stay with the show all the way through say…12 seasons? AMC has floated that number of seasons before, and it is possible that it could last even longer than that. But major cast departures are inevitable.
It’s more likely that the TV series will run its course before the Walking Dead comic book series comes to an end. That would require the television creative team to either adapt an existing story as the conclusion or come up with an original ending. If the series can make it to the current Whisperer War storyline, that could be an ideal place to leave the show at high point. Alternately, the series could attempt to survive any major casting changes by replacing performers or adding in new characters to take their place. As for the comic, it’s anyone’s guess how that will wrap up. Perhaps we’ll see Rick Grimes live to be an old man, or maybe his luck will finally run out at some point and another character will step up as the new lead. However the ending plays out on the TV screen or on the page, we highly doubt that this franchise is going away any time in the near future.
How do you think that the TV and comic versions of The Walking Dead will end? Share your predictions below!
Image: Image Comics/Skybound