The Walking Dead universe is about to get bigger.
Fans of The Walking Dead have just said goodbye to the series leading man, Andrew Lincoln. While his character, Rick Grimes, has left the show, his story is not over.
After Rick’s final episode aired, a trilogy of TV films was announced. The movies will star Andrew Lincoln in his now iconic role of Rick Grimes, and will tell the story of where Rick ends up after his miraculous rescue by Anne/Jadis and her mysterious helicopter friends.
With these films as a starting point, AMC hopes to spawn a full The Walking Dead Expanded Universe, consisting of more series, specials, and films. Some will show how the Zombie Apocalypse has affected other parts of the world. Others will shine a spotlight on beloved characters of the past.
What stories could this new expanded universe tell?
1. Here’s Negan!
In it’s Season Six finale, The Walking Dead introduced the most iconic villain in the history of both the show, and the comics on which it is based.
Negan makes his grand entrance by brutally murdering two beloved characters, Glenn and Abraham. He and his followers, The Saviors, then unleash a reign of terror that lasts two full seasons. Negan is ultimately defeated and imprisoned, but the spectre of his dark deeds still hangs heavy over the other characters.
Over this time, snippets of Negan’s backstory have been revealed, culminating in a heart-wrenching scene in the most recent episode.
This makes it the perfect time to tell Negan’s full backstory. One of the proposed specials or miniseries would be a great opportunity. Producers can simply adapt the 2016 comic ‘Here’s Negan’, which told the story of Negan in the days before and early in the apocalypse.
2. The Rise Of The Governor
Before Negan, there was The Governor. The seemingly charming, friendly leader of the Woodbury community, the character soon showed a dark side when our heroes fail to fall in line with his Leadership.
In the show, The Governor is responsible for the murder of Hershel, an event that affects the characters even now. The comic version is even more depraved, cutting off Rick’s hand and sexually assaulting Michonne.
Rise of The Governor is a novel set in The Walking Dead universe. Beginning as a family’s struggle to survive in the apocalypse, it ultimately becomes the story of how a normal man became The Governor. While previous knowledge of the actor playing the role ruins the novel’s ending twist, a film adaptation could still make for gripping viewing.
3. A Mission doomed from the start
It is not just the villains of the piece who deserve to have their stories told.
Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter, and Rosita Espinosa have already been on a long journey before we meet them in Season 4. We are told they were once part of a much larger group, committed to the task of getting Eugene to Washington, where he can supposedly discover a cure.
We soon learn that Eugene lied, which briefly sends Abraham into a downward spiral.
While the story of how Eugene met Abraham is scene in flashback, we don’t know much about how Rosita, and the other unseen members of the group came to join them. We don’t know exactly how they ultimately lost these other members. And, we don’t know how Eugene feels about these people dying for his lie.
Though he met the wrong end of Negan’s bat two seasons ago, Abraham Ford remains a fan favourite. A special lead by him could bring in great ratings.
4. From Keeper To King
Of the many new characters introduced in the show’s past two seasons, King Ezekiel is easily one of the most interesting. He seemed at first to be an eccentric, ruling over the community of ‘The Kingdom’ with pet Tiger Shiva by his side. The real story was much deeper.
Ezekiel was a zookeeper/aspiring actor. He shared a special bond with Shiva, one of the Zoo’s tigers, and rescued her when the apocalypse began.
How did he protect Shiva in the days before the pair reached the place that would become The Kingdom? How did Ezekiel become ‘King’ Ezekiel, a symbol of hope for so many other survivors?
It is a story that deserves to be told, and The Walking Dead Expanded Universe provides a wonderful chance to tell it.
5. Meanwhile, in..
Scott Gimple, the man spearheading the expansion of The Walking Dead’s Universe, has expressed his intention to explore how the Apocalypse is affecting the rest of the world.
Both the main show and it’s spin off, Fear The Walking Dead, have remained pretty much confined to America. So, the possibility of seeing the rest of the world is definitely interesting.
Gimple has also said that Walkers may look very different in other countries, due to differing climates. How are these countries faring? Are the different conditions increasing or decreasing their chances of survival?
It will be a while before we see any of these stories told. AMC does not want to flood the market with new The Walking Dead content. For now, the main focus will remain on the Rick Grimes movies, set to enter production sometime next year.
While fans wait for those, they can catch up on The Walking Dead Season 9, which is currently airing.