We knew this day would come, but it's still a lot for our zombified brains to process: The Walking Dead, AMC's groundbreaking megahit horror drama, will be coming to an end with a two-year expanded Season 11, the network announced Wednesday. It will be followed by a spin-off focused on the show's two most popular surviving characters: Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride). Additionally, AMC is developing a Tales from The Walking Dead episodic anthology series.
According to AMC, The Walking Dead's eleventh and final season will span 24 episodes. With the previously announced six extra Season 10 episodes scheduled for early next year, that means there are 30 remaining episodes of the flagship series, which will run through late 2022.
Then, in 2023, the Carol and Daryl spin-off will premiere. The spin-off will be be run by current The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang, who co-created the series with Scott M. Gimple, chief content officer of The Walking Dead Universe.
"It's been ten years 'gone bye;' what lies ahead are two more to come and stories and stories to tell beyond that," Gimple said in a statement. "What's clear is that this show has been about the living, made by a passionate cast, team of writer/producers, producers, and crew, bringing to life the vision put forth by Robert Kirkman in his brilliant comic — and supported by the best fans in the world. We have a lot of thrilling story left to tell on TWD, and then, this end will be a beginning of more Walking Dead -- brand new stories and characters, familiar faces and places, new voices, and new mythologies. This will be a grand finale that will lead to new premieres. Evolution is upon us. The Walking Dead lives."
"I look forward to digging in with our brilliant writers, producers, directors, cast and crew to bring this epic final chapter of Robert Kirkman's story to life for our fans over the next two years," Kang added. "The Walking Dead flagship series has been my creative home for a decade and so it's bittersweet to bring it to an end, but I could not be more excited to be working with Scott Gimple and AMC to develop a new series for Daryl and Carol. Working with Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride has been a highlight of my career and I'm thrilled that we get to keep telling stories together."
"Of course, I've always enjoyed working so closely with Norman throughout these many seasons. In playing Carol, and as a viewer of the show, I've also long been intrigued with 'Daryl and Carol,' and by what so early on between them, even then, felt somehow bound," McBride said. "Their shared history is long, and each's own personal fight to survive, even longer – the more obvious aspect of what has kept them close and loyal. But there is also a rather mysterious aspect to their fondness for one another that I enjoy, and their playfulness when the world permits. I'm very curious! Angela has a way of shaking things up in great and unexpected ways. She's like a kid playing with the dimmer switch! I'm very excited!"
"I feel incredibly honored to be a part of The Walking Dead. This show changed my life and career and everyone involved has truly been a family for me over the last decade. I'm thankful for AMC's love and support and know there's so much more story to tell and so much more to bring the best fans in the world. Daryl's relationship with Carol has always been my favorite relationship on the show (sorry Rick)," Reedus said. "I love the way these characters interact and relate to each other on so many levels and can't wait to see where their ride goes from here."
The Tales of the Walking Dead anthology series Gimple is developing is an episodic series with individual episodes or arcs of episodes focused on new or existing characters, backstories, or other stand-alone experiences. AMC and Gimple continue to develop other projects of all types in the The Walking Dead Universe.
The Walking Dead premiered on Halloween in 2010 and grew into the biggest cable series of all time, peaking in 2015 but still remaining the top-rated series on basic cable through Season 10. All of the top 73 cable entertainment telecasts for the past decade have been airings of The Walking Dead, according to AMC. The series based on Robert Kirkman's comics has spawned the current spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, the forthcoming spin-off The Walking Dead: World Beyond, an upcoming movie starring Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, and web series and video games. It's also served as a launch pad for stars like Jon Bernthal, Danai Gurira, and Steven Yeun.
The Walking Dead's Season 10 finale will air Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9/8c on AMC.