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The Walking Dead was one of many shows impacted by the shutdowns across the entertainment industry earlier in 2020, when COVID-19 made it unsafe for production to continue. Unfortunately, The Walking Dead had to stop production on Season 10 so close to the end that only the finale wasn't finished. The Season 10 finale wasn't able to air, and the penultimate episode had to serve as the end. Now, The Walking Dead executive producer Angela King has some good news about Season 10 but some bad news about Season 11.
Angela Kang revealed the good and bad news about the future of The Walking Dead during the show's [email protected] panel, saying this:
Yeah, obviously COVID has disrupted a lot of things for every workplace, including ours. The writers room for Season 11 has been going remotely for the past few months. We haven't been able to start production, but we’ll get back to work as soon as we safely can. We will not be airing Season 11 episodes this year as we normally would in October. But we’re excited to announce an extended Season 10, and there will be six extra episodes to follow the finale and those will run in early 2021 if all goes well. We’re working on those now and we’ll have more to share soon.
On the one hand, fans shouldn't expect The Walking Dead to premiere a new season in October, which had been the case for every single one of the previous ten seasons. Season 11 won't arrive on AMC until later, with the six extra episodes of Season 10 airing in early 2021 if "all goes well." Angela Kang didn't give a window for when Season 11 might be able to debut.
On the other hand, Season 10 will extend beyond the original order, which was for 16 episodes. There will be six extra episodes, and Angela Kang elaborated on what to expect, saying that the extra batch is "an extension of episodes beyond the finale."
Furthermore, the long-awaited Season 10 finale (which Norman Reedus compared to Game of Thrones) will air on October 4, so even though The Walking Dead won't premiere a new season in October, there will be new content. A big question now is what exactly the six bonus episodes will look like. The October 4 finale will presumably be the finished version of the episode that was intended to air back in the spring, and the bonus episodes won't be part of Season 11.
Will these episodes tell stories of characters whose journeys in the intended the finale happened off-screen? Will they be flashbacks to earlier in Season 10, or perhaps even earlier in the series? Or standalones that won't change the episodes that already aired or what's planned for Season 11? Will they be full-length? And why are they being called "extra episodes" of Season 10 rather than early Season 11? It's possible that actor availabilities have made it necessary to extend Season 10 rather than delve into the stories planned for the new season, which will be adding some new characters.
For now, fans should probably just cross their fingers that "all goes well" and The Walking Dead will be able to begin production soon enough to air in early 2021. Fear the Walking Dead will premiere its sixth season just a week after the parent series' finale on October 4, so zombie apocalypse fans can look forward to Fear the Walking Dead's first new episode in more than a year on October 11.
If you're in the mood for some zombie apocalypse action before October, you can always relive the first nine seasons of The Walking Dead streaming on Netflix now. For some new viewing options in the not-too-distant future and beyond, check out our 2020 summer TV premiere schedule and our 2020 fall TV premiere guide.