There is no way of knowing when a TV show will run out of road or if they will try to navigate over gravel and broken glass long after that point, refusing to wrap things up before people start forgetting why they loved those shows in the first place.
The Walking Dead isn’t necessarily kicking up gravel or nearing its expiration point right now as the cast and crew work on season 5 (which will debut this fall), but producer David Alpert has indicated that producers of the AMC zombie drama do have the far-off future on their mind.
Here’s Alpert, answering a question about working with “pre-existing” material during a panel discussion at a Producers Guild event.
“I happen to love working from source material, specifically because we have a pretty good idea of what season 10 is gonna be. We know where season 11 and 12…we have benchmarks and milestones for those seasons if we’re lucky enough to get there.”
The Walking Dead has diverged a bit from the comic book source material at times, so it’s hard to know how vital those “milestones” and “benchmarks” will be and what form they will take. However, if Alpert is referring to the source material that has already been released by Image Comics and Robert Kirkman and not some kind of story bible, then it seems natural to wonder if the Alexandria camp will play a large role in the later seasons of the show and what that could mean for the future of the show.
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