By any standard, the AMC adaptation of “The Walking Dead” has already had an impressive run — debuting in 2010 and breaking multiple ratings records along the way. But according to showrunner Scott M. Gimple, the show might not even be at the halfway point yet.
At Friday night’s “The Walking Dead” PaleyFest event in Hollywood, attended by CBR, Gimple pointed out that the show’s eighth season premiere — which will presumably air in the fall of this year — will be the 100th episode of the series. Gimple informed the audience that it would be less of a retrospective and more about setting up the future.
“The first episode [of the eighth season] is I think less about that we reached a hundred episodes, it’s more about setting up our next hundred episodes,” Gimple said. “The end of this season is very much the end of a chapter. It’s very much a conclusion that promises this epic story ahead. The first episode of season 8, it’s about setting up this gigantic, epic tale to come. Not only in season 8, but beyond.”
Given the arc of the current season, it’s easy to speculate that at least part of the “epic tale to come” might be the show’s take on “All-Out War,” a 12-issue arc in the Image Comics series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. “All-Out War” ran from 2013 to 2014 and depicted Rick Grimes leading the Hilltop and the Kingdom against Negan’s Saviors — though, of course, that’s just an educated guess at this point, as future “Walking Dead” TV storylines remain closely guarded secrets.
It’s certainly possible Gimple was being somewhat rhetorical and 200 episodes may not be an actual “plan,” but hitting that mark would put “The Walking Dead” in rarefied air on scripted TV, especially for an hour-long live-action drama. There are plenty that have produced more episodes, but with more installments produced per year than “The Walking Dead.” At its current pace, “The Walking Dead” would hit episode No. 200 at 14 years on air — which is not unachievable (given “Gunsmoke,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “ER”), but would definitely be a feat, and an unprecedented one for a comic book-based series.
For now, there are still three episodes left of “The Walking Dead” season seven, which is set to wrap at 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 on AMC. The next new episode, “The Other Side,” airs this Sunday.