At this point, the main “The Walking Dead” series feels like as much of a staple of modern television as anything else, having gone on for so long now with no end in sight. But it turns out the end actually is in sight, with a supersized Season 11 to wrap things up for the flagship of “AMC’s “Walking Dead” universe.
This news is both surprising and not surprising. Last year, “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman brought the comic book series on which all this is based to a close, in a surprise move. At the time, Kirkman said the show wouldn’t end the same way — but the fact that AMC is bringing the main series to an end now indicates that, actually, it could end in a similar fashion to the comics.
So the comic series ended during the storyline about the Commonwealth, a city of more than 50,000 survivors who are really getting civilization started again in Ohio. Our heroes from Alexandria and the other settlements started to deal with them in earnest, but the Commonwealth had strong dystopian vibes and, of course, nothing ever goes smoothly on “The Walking Dead.”
In the books, Rick kinda sorta started a revolt within the Commonwealth, and he’s killed by the son of the Commonwealth leader because of that. Rick’s death then kinda sobers everybody up and they make peace — and then for the last issue, “TWD” did a shocking 25-year time jump that showed how our remaining heroes have lived out their lives, and how by then people have pretty much gotten the zombie apocalypse under control.
So I don’t think the “Walking Dead” show will end with that kind of time jump epilogue, but the stuff before that with the Commonwealth could certainly be the template for the ending. The Commonwealth storyline in the comics came directly after the Whisperers storyline — and hey, we’re at the end of the Whisperers story right now on the show, with the seeds of the Commonwealth story having been planted since early in season 9. Remember Eugene’s friend Stephanie from the radio that Eugene and pals are going on a trip to meet up with? That’s a Commonwealth character.
Though “The Walking Dead” is definitely still using the comics as the basis for the overall direction of the show, showrunner Angela Kang and her writing staff usually change so much of the specifics. But with the Commonwealth story up next, it certainly puts the series in the position of being able to wrap things up in a fashion similar to that of the comics.
But it’s probably safe to say that, with the greater TV franchise continuing with the existing spinoffs as well as a new on focused on the continuing adventures of Carol and Daryl, the 25-year time jump just isn’t gonna happen. This will not be the end of the whole story, the way the end of the comics was. But “The Walking Dead” TV show is definitely positioned to end its run with that last story from the comics, should they choose to do that.
And then they can continue on with their other “Walking Dead” shows that feature fully original stories in that universe. In that way, it makes sense to end the show here — this is the end of the comic book storylines that they can adapt. As AMC moves into uncharted territory, it makes at least thematic sense to end this series and continue on with these original spinoffs.