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While there is likely some fanbase crossover for The Walking Dead and Robot Chicken, they will come together like never before when Adult Swim debuts the half-hour mash-up special, dubbed Look Who's Walking. Robot Chicken's co-creators Matthew Senreich and Seth Green spoke with CinemaBlend about the Walking Dead special (as well as the upcoming Season 9), and they told me how the project came together, and perhaps unsurprisingly, that comic creator Robert Kirkman played a huge part in that process.
Matthew Senreich: Oddly, this came about in a very random sort of way. I started in comic books way back in the day, and we do a dinner every San Diego Comic-Con on the Wednesday night and Robert Kirkman is one of the attendees of that. So we were just joking around at that, and I think it was some sort of teasing about how we did DC comics with Geoff Johns, and he was at that San Diego where we were premiering the third special. We joked about doing a Walking Dead special there. And to Kirkman's credit, he made it happen relatively quickly. Then Scott Gimple helped that along as well. It was just a bunch of friends hanging out, saying, 'Why don't we just play together?'
Seth Green**:** But it does speak volumes about both of these companies, AMC and Turner, that they're both willing to let us do something like this. That everybody got on board and appreciated the attention it would provide for both properties, instead of feeling like one was disrespecting the other.
If only big jobs in my own life could have happened so smoothly. (And also with Robert Kirkman and Geoff Johns and Matthew Senreich being involved in any way.) Thankfully, Kirkman is one of the most self-aware and self-deprecating entertainers out there, and it wouldn't seem like he'd have had much of a problem with allowing Robot Chicken to send up The Walking Dead. But even as the comic creator, he can't exactly speak for everyone involved with the TV show at AMC, so it's pretty fantastic that he was able to pull whatever weight he needed to in order to secure all the proper rights and allowances. Because it is completely worth those efforts, I must say, as the special is hilarious.
Plus, it wasn't just the behind-the-scenes wheelings and dealings that Kirkman was responsible for locking down. Both he and Scott Gimple actually lent their talents when it came to getting the Walking Dead special put together from story and joke angles. Here's what else Matthew Senreich told me about Kirkman and Gimple's input.
It was great. You have to remember also Kirkman at the outset gave us a rah-rah speech to get the writers room going, and Scott Gimple sat in that writers room with us, so it was a lot of fun to work with them. . . . There were jokes. They were laughing at the stuff. We poked fun at them, and they poked fun back at us. We could bounce ideas off of them. We could ask them about storylines. The room was very collaborative.
In fact, Matthew Senreich said Scott Gimple was around for just about every day that they were in the writing process for the Walking Dead special, so that's some pretty solid dedication on his part to make sure the Robot Chicken team stayed as close to the truth of the source material as possible to inform the comedy. And considering the writing staff was penning jokes that would specifically be coming from the mouths of the actual Walking Dead cast members, from Andrew Lincoln to Steven Yeun to Melissa McBride, there are few people that would understand that process better than Gimple and Kirkman.
This will not be the first time that Robert Kirkman has shown up on Robot Chicken special, but he'll get to last a little big longer here. Since he helped so much, I jokingly asked Matthew Senreich and Seth Green if Kirkman forced them to make his character look cool on the show. Here's what Green said.
We had a big conversation about what he was going to be wearing. And that's why we dressed him in the fanciest garb we could. He had sunglasses on at one point.
Walking Dead fanatics are going to love the Robot Chicken special, which takes a look at the entire run of the zombie drama, from Rick's post-coma days to Negan's latest efforts, and making sure to bring back some characters we haven't seen in years. (Merle!) And because of Kirkman and Gimple's assistance, it's just as winkingly reverential to the material as what we saw in the DC and Star Wars specials. You can check out the trailer for Look Who's Walking below.
Be sure to clear your calendars, because The Robot Chicken Walking Dead Special: Look Who's Walking will make its splatteriffic debut on October 8 at !2:00 a.m. ET on Adult Swim. (So it's technically October 9 for East Coast folks.) Meanwhile, the action-packed Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead will air on Sunday, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET. And to see when everything else is hitting the small screen, head to our fall premiere schedule.