AMC announced on Friday that the cable network is officially working on the Walking Dead spinoff that we’ve been hearing about (and hoping for) for nearly a year. The project is being described as a “companion series” and while the show is not going to go straight-to-series, a pilot has been ordered for the project, which will land in The Walking Dead universe.

Here’s what we know about the upcoming Walking Dead companion pilot. Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert and Dave Erickson are all involved with The Walking Dead and will all executive produce the new pilot. In addition, Erickson is signed on as the showrunner for the pilot, which is fitting considering he co-created and co-wrote the pilot. Shooting is expected to begin before the end of the year, and AMC President Charlie Collier did give us some hints about the premise, noting that “fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world.” If the new pilot does take a more global look at the universe, it would be a smart move, as there would be infinite potential to market the series around the world.

Without a title or a premise, there’s not a ton to go on, but we do know that both Erickson and the better-known Kirkman are thrilled to be a part of the new pilot and to bring more of the Walking Dead universe to the small screen. In a press release, Kirkman fleshed out the many reasons he thinks a companion series will work for AMC.
There are many corners of The Walking Dead universe that remain unseen in the shadows. Being given the opportunity to shine a light into those corners and see what lurks out there is an absolute thrill. I know the fans are anxious to hear what Dave and I have been cooking up for this new version of The Walking Dead, and I’m happy to be one step closer to sharing it with them.”

The Walking Dead spinoff is not the first of its ilk over at AMC. After the wild success of Breaking Bad in its final season, the network announced it would be releasing Better Call Saul, a spinoff set in the past that will allow Breaking Bad characters to return. That spinoff is expected to hit the schedule in February of 2015. Better Call Saul is really the test market to see whether a companion series will work or not, and I expect we’ll be hearing more about The Walking Dead’s own companion series around the same time.

Unfortunately, the end of the year is still a few months away. Fans of Kirkman and co.’s work can chin up, though. Season 5 of The Walking Dead is scheduled to premiere on Sunday, October 12 at 8 p.m. ET, and the show has been busy releasing plenty of brand new photos and previews to entice fans.

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