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One of the most popular series on TV right now, AMC’s The Walking Dead is creeping up to its Season 5 premiere later this year, which is pretty remarkable considering no one gave the genre effort a lot of attention when it premiered its 6-episode first season. Based on the long-winded (but still immensely enjoyable) comic series from executive producer Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead has a lot to work with as far as source material goes, and its producers and writers have long-term goals for where the TV series will take viewers. How long-term? Oh, at least 12 seasons is all.

Beware of spoilers below.

Speaking at the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By conference this past weekend, Walking Dead producer David Alpert quelled any worries that the creative team will be coming up dry any time soon. Asked what it was like working with pre-existing material, Alpert said (via IndieWire) that he loves working with source material, “specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what Season 10 is gonna be.” But that’s not all.

“We know where Season 11 and 12…we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we’re lucky enough to get there,” he continued. Now, this is obviously just a producer stating how deeply he’s embedded into the show, and in no way means that AMC will be willing to keep the show on the air for seven seasons following the next one. But I’m sure they wouldn’t be against it if the ratings continue to break cable records, and that just might happen if the show doesn’t drift back into plot-wallowing like it does in each of its past seasons, passing off boring dialogue as “character development.”

Season 4 ended (and Season 5 will presumably begin) with Rick and most of the group reconnecting at Terminus, the long-touted safe haven for survivors. Of course, viewers have known that Terminus wasn’t going to be much of a shelter for these characters, and comic fans know EXACTLY how unhelpful its current residents are. One of the reasons why The Walking Dead gets my goat is because it frequently presents fairly stupid character decisions on the way to its exciting story beats. If you’re trying to find a place to hide out with smart, likeminded people, maybe don’t choose one with a sign written by someone who doesn’t grasp sentence structure or making a clear point.


But big things are coming for everyone, assuming the narrative path at least somewhat follows Kirkman’s comics. The creator recently spoke with THR and shared that he’s got a clear end in mind for the comic version The Walking Dead, but it’s “something that is very far off into the future and it’s an ending that doesn’t really work unless I take my time to get there.” As long as he keeps writing it, fans will keep reading it, and Alpert and the show’s writers will keep on adapting it for AMC.

How long do you think The Walking Dead should go on?

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