- “The Walking Dead” showrunner Angela Kang tells Insider she knows how the zombie drama will end.
- Kang said she and the writers have had an idea of where the show would go for “a while.”
- She hopes they stick the finale, but says “at a certain point, that part is out of your control.”
The cast of “The Walking Dead” may not know how the show ends, but a few people do, including the series’ showrunner, Angela Kang.
When asked if she knows how “TWD” will end, Kang told Insider via phone Monday morning, “Yes, I believe I know how ‘The Walking Dead’ ends.”
The last time Insider caught up with Kang in April to discuss the show’s season 10 bonus episodes, the showrunner said they were still in the process of mapping out and “filling in the details” for the show’s final 11th season, announced last fall.
Now, they know what they’re building up to for the show’s finale, which is expected to air late next year.
“We pitched it all out to AMC and everybody’s on board,” Kang said, adding that there’s still some tinkering going on. “As we get into individual episodes, we’re still kind of refining and mapping as we change things we’ve planned a little bit. But the roadmap is firmly in place at this point.”
When the “TWD” comic, which the series is based on, abruptly ended in July 2019, creator Robert Kirkman said he knew how it would end for four years.
When asked how long she has known about the show’s end, Kang didn’t provide a timeline but said they’ve had an idea for a while.
“Internally working on the show, we had guesses [for how it ends],” Kang said. “[Kirkman] set up this father/son story, but even then he managed to kind of surprise us with exactly how he ended it.”
If you haven’t been following the comic, “TWD” ended with the main protagonist Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln on the series, getting killed. The comic flashed forward a number of years to end with his son Carl and Sophia living out their life with a child of their own.
A handful of characters, including Michonne, Eugene, Maggie, and Negan all survive the comic.
On the show, Carl and Sophia have been dead for some time. Rick, meanwhile, has been missing on the show since 2018. He was carried away by a mysterious helicopter. Though we know he’s with a group called the Civic Republic Military, fans are still waiting for a Rick Grimes movie to fill in more of the details.
Vast changes from the comic to the show and a rotating cast left Kang with a series of challenges heading into the show’s final season. There are giant arcs that happen with characters in the comics who no longer exist on the show.
In some cases, other show newer characters will step in to fulfill certain arcs. Kang previously teased to Insider that “TWD” would do a version of the story arc in which Michonne discovers her long-lost child, Elodie, has been alive this entire time.
In other instances, Kang and the writers have come up with original stories for the final season, including the introduction of a group called the Reapers.
“Obviously, we don’t have the same array of characters, so I think some of our thoughts, in terms of specifics have changed over time, but I think in terms of telling one story that sort of thematically points in a kind of a direction, I think we’ve had that in mind for a while,” Kang said of knowing how “TWD” will end.
“It’s just the specifics are what they are in the year 2021,” Kang added, hinting that the pandemic may have shifted the course of how they laid out the final season.
That wouldn’t be a surprise.
When we spoke with Kang in February 2020, she and the writers were deep into working on a version of season 11 before the pandemic caused a number of changes to the show’s production.
Pre-production for season 11 was delayed in March 2020 and Kang and the writers then pivoted to writing six more contained, bonus season 10 episodes that aired earlier this year.
After the bonus episodes were announced, Kang and the cast learned they would only have one more season to finish out the entire show, something which caught a lot of the cast off-guard, including stars Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride.
After the final season announcement, Kang told Insider last September the show’s final 30 episodes (bonus season 10 episodes + season 11’s expanded 24-count) would essentially play out as about two seasons worth of material.
It’s just another challenge Kang has had thrown her way after taking over as showrunner in season nine when the show’s lead, Lincoln, was departing the series, and then Danai Gurira followed suit on season 10.
Despite losing the show’s leads, Kang has been able to deliver two of the best seasons of “TWD” in years. Now, she has to see if she can navigate maybe the largest challenge thrown her way — sticking the landing for the show’s finale while still filming in Atlanta, Georgia, during a pandemic while daily cases are on the rise again.
It’s something she hopes she can do.
“We really hope that we tell a story that entertains people along the way, that helps them feel things,” Kang said.
“Hopefully, we stick it,” Kang said when asked about how she has approached the show’s final season and any pressures the team may be facing in nailing the show’s final season. “We definitely don’t want to not stick it, but, you know, at a certain point, that part is out of your control. We can just control what we can control.”
Currently, Kang estimates they’re about halfway through filming the show’s final season.
The expanded 24-episode season (seasons typically air for 16 episodes) will debut in thirds starting on Sunday, August 22. If you subscribe to AMC+, the first part of the two-part season premiere will be available to stream this Sunday.
Courtesy By INSIDER