How The Walking Dead Will Handle The Comic's Big Time Jump For TV

negan the walking dead
(Image credit: Photo courtesy of AMC)

Mild spoilers from The Walking Dead TV show and comic series are below.

The Walking Dead recently wrapped up Season 7 with the onset of the big war between Rick's newly assembled army and Negan's Saviors, and viewers will very likely see that war take up the majority of Season 8, if not all of it. Now, comic fans are really starting to wonder how the show will move on from there, since the source material introduces a giant time jump that progresses the story along in a huge way. With that game-changing period coming soon for the TV drama, showrunner Scott Gimple has offered up some hints on how it'll be handled.

For the people who read the comics, they're going to be expecting this. We're doing the book, we do all sorts of variations on it, and then we do things that are inspired by it and then we change things up with a remix. But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting. And thus we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we'll do that two to five years in real time.

If you came out of that quote a little more confused than when you went into it, it's understandable, as Scott Gimple and comic creator Robert Kirkman are absolute professionals when it comes to offering noncommittal responses to questions about The Walking Dead's future. Still, while the first bit about variations and remixes is par for the course, it's more interesting to hear him clue fans into the possibility of seeing the TV show bring to life events that were only alluded to or mentioned in passing within the comic books. As well as that last part about how the show could actually handle the time jump itself in a way different from the comics and how the show has handled its own time jumps in the past.

Everyone's mileage would definitely vary on this, but what if all or part of Season 9 was a giant time-lapsed take on the years between the All Out War and the New Beginnings story arc that immediately followed in the comics. (Or whatever starting point Gimple and Kirkman work out.) Episodes could focus on the bigger situations that weren't seen on the page, and the show could focus on connecting bigger overall dots from week to week instead of super-specific ones. After all those super-focused episodes from Season 7, I think I'd be down with a left field change like that. Unless it's terrible.

Here's what else Scott Gimple told THR about those unseen (for now) moments.

But in general, I think there's going to be a little bit more content that Robert actually refers to. There's stuff in there that I was reading that I wondered about and when I wonder about stuff that I like, I like getting into that stuff [on the show]. We're definitely going to honor it and do it, but we're definitely going to have either more of it or possibly do it in a different way.

Even knowing that some of those vaguely described moments would get changed in some way for live-action, it's still a really intriguing concept. This was the period in which Michonne and Ezekiel split up, and she took off for a life on the high seas at Oceanside, and just about everything in that sentence would need to be changed for TV, since Michonne is with Rick, Ezekiel and Carol aren't even a couple yet, and Oceanside is a vastly different community on the show than it is in the comics and video game.

Aside from that, there's the development of Rick's special prison (which already has an origin on the show) and the growth of all the separate communities, as well as everything that happens within The Sanctuary once the War is over. There are tons of places to take the narrative, so here's hoping the creative team is planning something fantastic.

Post-war storylines are still a long ways away, though, since we still have Season 8 to get through when next fall rolls around. But while we're waiting to see how The Walking Dead decides to shift its timeline, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide to see everything coming to the small screen in the near future.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.