For folks living in the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, only three things matter: How do I survive, how can we fix this...and why is this happening? The last question might seem like the easiest one to answer, but it’s something TWD’s chief content officer Scott Gimple says we may never know.
Gimple discussed the overall likelihood of learning the source of the zombie apocalypse in any of the current or future The Walking Dead series while speaking with Insider recently. “I think we could get hints in different directions,” Gimple said. “I don’t think we’re going to give it to you with certainty anytime soon.”
This comes after fans noted that a recent episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond had a soldier discussing the rumor that the virus had “started in space.” World Beyond showrunner Matt Negrete confirmed that this scene wasn’t blowing the door wide open on the true source of the outbreak. Instead, it was an Easter Egg. “It really was just a nod to the comics,” Negrete said.
Specifically, it was a reference to a non-canonical “gag” ending creator Robert Kirkman had added to issue 75 of The Walking Dead—which originally came out in July 2010—that said aliens were behind the virus (Kirkman also joked about this in a since-deleted tweet from January about a “space spore”). This mention might have been a joke, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real answer out there. During a 2017 San Diego Comic-Con panel, Kirkman shared how he knows the true comics origin of the virus but will never reveal it because “it’s dumb.” Of course, we know that shows don’t have to follow their source material, but it looks like in this case The Walking Dead is going to keep it a secret too. At least for now.
“We’re planning on telling different sorts of Walking Dead stories for years and years and years,” Gimple said. “So, who knows? But, there are no immediate plans to reveal that. I think that’s an important thing to say.”
That said, however ridiculous they might seem, Gimple did tease that “space spores” aren’t completely far-fetched. There’s a chance they could resurface: “The fact that alien spores could be entertained and the fact that I will not completely take it off the table is a feature, not a bug of the walker apocalypse.”
The Walking Dead: World Beyond just finished its debut season, with a second one on the way, and Gimple said folks are hard at work on the next season of the other AMC spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead. The flagship series The Walking Dead is currently getting ready for its 11th and final season, which is set to debut sometime in 2022. Gimple also told Insider that the 24-episode season could be divided into three 8-episode parts, though he said they’re still working out the details.
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