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After months of keeping things pretty hush-hush about AMC’s upcoming horror thriller Fear the Walking Dead, co-creators Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson have finally opened up with details about the show’s plot and approach to the early days of he zombie apocalypse that The Walking Dead has expounded upon. Fans are already wondering how this new series will handle its predecessor’s relatively high kill-count where its main characters are concerned, and Erickson says that while no one is safe, this series will be a little different in that department.
While firmly stating that Fear the Walking Dead will look deeper into troubles with violence in a world where the population has yet to grasp that an outbreak has occurred, Erickson told THR how this quasi-prequel will undertake killing its characters off.
I don't want to get too specific in terms of body count because I believe ultimately I would never set up and drop someone just for the purpose of setting up and dropping them. Anybody can be eaten at any time; it can happen to anyone. No one is safe, but I also have some specific arcs in my head that will probably protect certain people. I worked on Sons of Anarchy, and sometimes you have to kill your darlings. When you're going to kill a major character, you need to have laid the track for it. There are certain deaths that I have in my head that wouldn't be coming until much later in the show, but until we get up and running and we see how everything is developing, it's hard to say.
That all makes perfect sense to me. After all, even though the Walking Dead comics had already set up a storyline where many supporting characters’ lives hung in the balance, the show’s first season wasn’t so intent on killing people off in its six episodes. And when it did, it was much more of a gut punch, since the expectations weren’t there yet. By the time Season 2 rolled around, audiences were a little more aware that almost all lives are temporary.
At the center of Fear the Walking Dead is a loose interpretation of a family, rather than The Walking Dead’s ragtag group of survivors, with co-leads Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) having just moved in together. She has two kids, a drug-addled son and an aspirational daughter, and he has an anger-filled kid as well as an ex-wife. It’s completely sensible that Kirkman and Erickson would want to develop these characters as much as possible before taking any fateful turns, although an ex-wife seems like the most expendable character of the bunch.
To extrapolate on Erickson saying “much later in the show,” he shares how many seasons the show is tentatively set to last at this point, at least inside his head.
About five or six. The more we dig into it, the more we’ll find…I’ve got some mile markers, which don’t take me that long as of yet, but I can’t really say because it’s an AMC question.
He does say that he likes endings, though, so maybe viewers will get to see some kind of a resolution to Fear the Walking Dead that’s completely at odds form how the flagship series is telling its world-building story. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Fear the Walking Dead is set to debut on AMC this summer.