The Walking Dead Spinoff: This Important Character May Come Back

When it comes to the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff, currently going by the name Cobalt, AMC and the project’s co-writers Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson are keeping their mouths shut. (Unlike 99% of the undead creepshows milling around The Walking Dead.) Part of the main cast has been signed on, and early claims have denied that crossovers will happen. But things said now, before a pilot is shot, don’t always reflect what occurs if and when a show goes to series. And that’s where Dr. Edwin Jenner may or may not come into it.

Actor Noah Emmerich was repping his part in the acclaimed FX drama The Americans, and THR asked him if he would be interested in coming back to the role of Jenner for the just-after-the-apocalypse spinoff, at which point the doctor would still be alive. (He accepted his fate at the end of Season 1.) Here’s what Emmerich had to say.

Sure, I think he’s a fascinating character. There’s definitely a lot more to find out about Dr. Jenner. I have no idea, I haven’t talked with them about anything. I don’t know...It would be really interesting to see what more was there.”

THR’s sources say that “the two worlds are very much linked together,” which goes against the earlier claims. But in any case, Kirkman has said previously that his biggest regret was hitting the Center for Disease Control plotline too early in the series. And considering the CDC would likely be a natural destination for anyone in the event of a plague, it’s certainly likely that Jenner would be alive and doing his job at that point. (Probably at a far more stressed pace than when we caught up with him.) It’s whether he’ll be doing it on camera or not that we’re interested in, and Emmerich doesn’t seem to know any more than we do.

Truthfully, an entire one-off season about the CDC in crisis mode would be interesting, and Emmerich is a solid actor to lead such a thing. Let's just have him skip this spinoff and land his own. Deals get made via stories like this, right?

the walking dead

This isn’t the first time talk has started about what Walking Dead characters may get time in Cobalt. Juan G. Pareja, who played the father Morales in Season 1, was rumored to be coming back after his name appeared on the show’s IMDb page. (It has since been removed.) When it comes down to it, I’m pretty sure the pilot that’s being created right now won’t pay any overt references to its predecessor, much less in bringing actors back for old roles. But I’m just as sure that AMC will order a full season, giving the writers access to everything under the sun, even though it’ll be the Los Angeles sun.

Cobalt will be fronted by Kim Dickens, who’ll play the romantic interest of Cliff Curtis, while Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Carey will play her children. They’re in the middle of their tumultuous relationships when worldwide disaster strikes, and they’re forced to survive together. The pilot will be directed by Adam Davidson (Hell on Wheels).

There’s no real timeline for when Cobalt is going to get decided on, but remember to tune into AMC when the second half of The Walking Dead’s Season 5 premieres on Sunday, February 8, at 9 p.m. ET.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.