By ordering two season of the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff, AMC clearly has confidence that the new show will draw in a sizeable chunk of the flagship series’ massive audience. And now we know a little bit more about what fans can expect to see, as creator Robert Kirkman has revealed the companion series will start off in the days before The Walking Dead. Back before Rick’s beard became a sentient being.

Kirkman appeared at the South by Southwest panel “Creative Activism” this past weekend, and he was asked how his new series will fit in with its predecessor, and/or also his long-running comic series. Understandably, he said this series wouldn’t be related to the comics in any way, but he got a little more cryptic when talking about how the two TV series will overlap. Here’s how he put it, according to EW.
The timeline is taking place in a little bit earlier timeframe than the original show. Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and was like, ‘Oh, man, zombies, weird!’ We’re probably going to see that unfold a little more in the other show. But I wouldn’t call it ‘prequel’ because the entirety of the show is not going to take place before. It will eventually form a path running concurrently.

That fits in with earlier reports that the companion series would put a larger focus on the outbreak as it’s happening, rather than strictly having a group of survivors doing whatever it takes to keep going. (To be fair, it obviously does center on a set of survivors, in this case two families with troublesome children.) Considering we’ve already seen that side of things on The Walking Dead proper, I like the idea of tackling the story at a point when no one really knows what’s happening and chaos reigns.

It’s unclear just how long it will take the spinoff to match up with the Walking Dead timeline, which has already taken its own time-jump liberties over the past five seasons. I think it would partly be a waste if they kicked the show off with a new set of interesting characters with an interesting story just to plow ahead to speedily get to a more desperate point for humanity. It’s supposed to take place in California, so I’m hoping we get to see some ocean-bound zombies at some point. (Do we call them “swimmers?”)

Kirkman also pointed out that even though no blatant crossover-type events are being planned, the two shows will have connecting threads.
There are a lot of things about The Walking Dead world these characters have to learn or figure out to get by. And there may be some things that are discovered in the companion show that haven’t been discovered on the other show yet. So there could be like a thing where, ‘Oh, they encountered a zombie in Season 4 in The Walking Dead that could do this and now we know why that was.’

Maybe Alexandria will start up its own newsletter, and the family in the spinoff will receive it one day. However it goes, we can’t wait to see another side of this apocalyptic universe, no matter when it takes place. Expect the still-untitled series to hit AMC this summer.

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