Could The Walking Dead make it to Season 13 and beyond?
The Walking Dead is a huge hit for AMC, with millions of fans, including plenty of IGN readers. But as the show heads into Season 4 this fall, do you think you’d be as excited for Season… 13? AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan sure hopes so.
Sapan was speaking at the Barclays Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference, reports THR, and spoke about when a series wraps up. It’s something AMC has on its mind, with Breaking Bad ending this year and Mad Men likely to end in 2014. Said Sapan of those two beloved shows and their legacy, “We’ll all suffer from some minor heartbreak when these shows come to a natural close. Like some of the best shows in history, there will be a mantle that exists sort of virtually in people’s minds, and in the world maybe they’ll actually put a statue somewhere. We will bring them to a close with the people who created them at the right time.”
However, Sapan remarked about The Walking Dead, “We hope that zombies live forever and we’ve just begun to find out what the post-apocalyptic world is like. “ He added that he hoped, “We’ll be sitting here at the Barclays conference in 2022 discussing the fact that Walking Dead is not over…" Sapan also quipped, "At that point, I think any one of the companies will have replaced the United States government and we’ll be in a complete free enterprise world in which there are no nations.”
The Walking Dead is based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book, which is now at over 100 issues with no end in sight – Kirkman has said he sees it as a continuing series, without a planned beginning, middle and end, such as comics like The Sandman or Y: The Last Man. Also, where Mad Men and Breaking Bad had one, clear person guiding the show and writing the overall story from the start -- Matt Weiner and Vince Gilligan -- The Walking Dead is going into its fourth season with its third showrunner, having much more of a revolving door when it comes to who is guiding the story.
Still, Sapan’s hopes for Walking Dead still being around in 2022 are very optimistic. Most shows end well before they’d reach a 13th season because the combination of dwindling ratings (given most shows peak in their first few seasons, random exceptions aside) and rising costs and salaries makes it financially unfeasible to continue. Granted, The Walking Dead has such a tendency to kill off characters and replace producers that maybe rising salaries wouldn’t be such an issue – but still, would the show be as popular without Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus? And if they were still around at that point, wouldn’t their salaries have ballooned to such a point that it would be too expensive for the show to continue, unless their ratings had held incredibly well after more than a decade?
And the big question – Do you, loyal Walking Dead viewers, want The Walking Dead to be on the air for more than a decade, or do you think the show would benefit from having more of an end game in mind?