In the past five years, The Walking Dead has not only become one of cable’s most popular series, but it’s also gotten a lot more exciting and interesting as the plot has moved forward to its current location of Alexandria. And when you look back at how many positively awful things have happened to the characters over the years, you wouldn’t be insane to think that the end of the series would be as dim and dour as everything else, but it looks like comic creator Robert Kirkman has something completely different in mind. A happy ending?

Kirkman created The Walking Dead as a response to zombie movies that end on one or two lead characters surviving one situation without actually stopping the zombie threat. And though there’s no planned ending for the comics or TV series in sight, Kirkman sounds like he wants to keep things positive for whatever central characters are around for the final moments. Here’s how he put it on a recent episode of WTF with Marc Maron.
I do hope that The Walking Dead goes on long enough that when it ends, they’re like, ‘Good thing we took care of those zombies.’…I see the story from beginning to end, over many, many years, and so I think it’s a very hopeful story about humanity overcoming this insurmountable apocalyptic situation. It’s just going to take them a long time to do it.

Now, it’s always possible that the comic and the TV show could go in two completely different directions where an ending is concerned, as a calm swan song on the written page probably wouldn’t earn the kind of angry gorehound response that a smile-filled episodic finale would provoke. Still, it’s interesting that Kirkman is more into seeing his (as-yet-unexplained) walker scourge die out, rather than ending things with some ridiculously over-the-top twist or confrontation.

Should the TV series indeed catch up to the comics, there are years’ worth of storylines there, and in the most current issues, things actually do resemble “peaceful times,” which didn’t seem possible once Negan showed up. Kirkman and the rest of the creative team have roughly estimated around 12 seasons of story to bring the TV show, and its popularity almost guarantees AMC will keep it on the air as long as possible. So I’m confident we will get the ending Kirkman wants, rather than one he and Scott Gimple (or whoever) are forced to create.

I’m really hoping the last shot is someone picking up a Walkman, and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is the first song that plays. That would be incredibly awful, but also oh so amazing. Maybe Daryl starts whistling it as he rides off on his motorcycle.

Thankfully, for those who seek more mayhem, there is still a lot of deadly drama to come when Season 6 of The Walking Dead premieres on Sunday, October 11, on AMC. Plus, Kirkman has been known to talk shit from time to time, so maybe he’s just pulling (zombie sheep) wool over our eyes.

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