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While The Walking Dead universe is at an unfortunate standstill at the moment, the franchise will be ending 2020 in a huge way, with Fear the Walking Dead and TWD: World Beyond both debuting in October along with the flagship drama's long-awaited Season 10 finale. It's even been announced that The Walking Dead's tenth season is expanding with more episodes in 2021. While all things Dead are looking promising for the future, one fan asked executive producer and former showrunner Scott Gimple about looking back to the past for a prequel project.
During The Walking Dead's pre-recorded panel for [email protected], moderator Chris Hardwick posed a fan question to Scott Gimple that asked which character he would want leading a spinoff series taking place completely in the pre-apocalyptic time setting. With nary a second of hesitation, which is relatively rare for a guy who delivers 90% non-straightforward answers to Walking Dead questions, Gimple replied with:
If we’re talking pre-apocalypse, I’d go right to Glenn. Because A: I miss working with Steven [Yeun], and B: it would be funny. I like the funny.
As hard as it might be to believe, Steven Yeun has been absent from The Walking Dead for nearly four years now, having been officially killed off in the Season 7 premiere. That rage-inducing episode also featured a lovely fantasy dinner sequence that I kinda wish was the reality, while everything else that happened since could be marked down to being a bloody fever dream. In any case, probably the only way fans could ever see Glenn again is through some form of a prequel series focusing on his life before he crossed paths with Dale, Carol and the Grimes family. (Minus a surprise flashback moment for Maggie or something along those lines.)
Now, none of this means that anyone at AMC is giving a thumbs up to a Glenn Rhee spinoff series, and this was (at least for now) just Scott Gimple having some fun during a Comic-Con panel where audiences and press were completely absent. Of course, Gimple IS the Walking Dead franchise's Chief Content Officer, so he and comic book creator Robert Kirkman would be the main pair who could get a standalone Glenn prequel going, should anyone at the network be interested in ordering up such a project.
Of course, Steven Yeun likely wouldn't want to return for a premise where he's supposed to be playing a younger version of himself, since he previously had no interest in doing that. Yeun also spoke out a couple of times in recent years about Glenn being underappreciated and not given enough of his own core storylines. So while he doesn't necessarily have bad blood with The Walking Dead, he isn't exactly jumping at the chance to get back into that universe. Granted, he did re-team with Robert Kirkman for the lead voice role for his upcoming Amazon superhero series Invincible, from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, seemingly proving his relationship with Kirkman is genial enough.
While Scott Gimple wasn't willing to speak much more about a potential Glenn spinoff, the EP did continue long-game teasing that fans are going to see The Walking Dead branch out in several different directions in the future. In his words:
But I will say we’re working on things where we are looking at past characters. Maybe not a whole series. But yeah, we’re looking at things where we can take a peek at…maybe not pre-apocalypse, but early apocalypse, where we’re looking at folks. So get excited about that.
Does that mean Steven Yeun could possibly return for a single Glenn-centered episode or special, as opposed to a full-blown TV season? Technically, yes. Although Gimple could just as well be talking about installments focusing on The Governor, or the Greene family, or Rick Grimes' brother that was only barely mentioned on TV (while being explored for the Alien comic one-off.) As it usually goes with this show, being patient until later is key.