What We Know So Far About Z Nation's Netflix Prequel

z nation prequel

Netflix has spent the last several years building up a lineup of original content and TV partnerships that bring subscribers some of the most interesting content on television, all primed and ready for binge-watching. One of those partnerships involves certain Syfy content heading to Netflix, and now it looks as if that deal will bear fruit, as we recently learned Netflix is putting out a prequel to Z Nation called Black Summer. As expected, any time there is a spinoff to a series in the works, there are a lot of details to be worked out, and thankfully during Comic-Con 2018 the cast and crew of Z Nation were on hand to tell us a little more about what to expect from the upcoming series. When a show lasts for five seasons on cable, it's always cool to hear there will be more to come, and now we've learned the first big details about the upcoming show.

What Is The Black Summer?

Fans of Z Nation have already heard about Black Summer, as it's a familiar concept in the mythology of the Syfy original series. Showrunner Karl Schaefer talked a little bit about the backstory of the new series, noting that the Black Summer occurs just a few months into the original zombie apocalypse that later becomes full-blown in Z Nation.

There's going to be a spinoff of Z Nation on Netflix. It's called Black Summer. It's a prequel to Z Nation, a lot of you know about Black Summer, the mythology and the story. It's about four months into the apocalypse, back after Day 1. It's the low point of the apocalypse, the summer when 95% of the population dies over the course of the summer. It's gonna be dark, crazy, edgy, it's directed by John Hyams, starring Jaime King, as a mother who's driven to save her daughter during the apocalypse. And it's gonna be super scary and intense.

Why A Z Nation Prequel?

Z Nation has an avid fanbase, and seeing the panel at Comic-Con, people were really engaged in stories about the cast and crew. However, showrunner Karl Schaefer also addressed the elephant in the room, noting that The Walking Dead really put zombies on-trend on TV again, paving the way for shows like Z Nation and iZombie to make their marks, as well. Everyone involved with the new Netflix series really wants to give fans something new to look forward to, however.

We've always been sort of the stepchild of The Walking Dead. Like the funny, cute version. But we have a lot of great filmmakers and people involved with the show. We wanted to do something where we set out to go, 'We want the real scary, old school back-to-the-basics, run-your-ass-off zombie show. That's what we're gonna do.

What Can We Expect?

The new series is going to be eight hours. Netflix is notorious for not putting out release dates until fairly close to the premiere; regardless, at least we already know episode count. And Black Summer is going to embrace the binge-watching model. On Syfy, Z Nation needs to fit into a specific broadcasting time. On Netflix, there is no need for such restraint. According to Karl Schaefer:

And it's gonna be very different. It's not going to be episodic like you would normally see. It's gonna be like an 8-hour chunk you can fight your way through on Netflix with all kinds of short chapters that are different lengths in time. You never know whose gonna get killed, whose gonna live, you can't tell anything by where you are in the episode. What's going to happen. I think it's going to be really exciting and crazy.

Do Any Characters Cross Over?

Here's the thing. Z Nation is about to premiere its fifth season, which means the characters that have survived from the beginning of the series have changed and grown as time has gone on. As Syfy series actor DJ Qualls revealed at San Diego Comic-Con, it's been quite a long time since the titular Black Summer, and he at least feels as if the cast is "too old" these days for them to really cross over. Still, it's hard for me to believe that Syfy and Netflix would totally skip out on an opportunity to connect the two universes, and since nothing is set in stone yet, I still have hope that it could all work down the line.

We'll keep you posted on all of the Black Summer details coming down the pipeline. In the meantime you can take a look at what else Netflix has coming up with our full premiere schedule.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.