The zombie theme enjoyed a colossal resurgence through the 2010s, and one of the major contributors to this was the smash-hit television series The Walking Dead. “Walkers” became the common term for the undead, and the success of The Walking Dead helped to spur on other big-budget TV shows, with episodes becoming more akin to movies than what was usually put on television. Arguably, the rise of zombies in the show helped to spur the overseas success of the now-famous Korean zombies in the Asian nation’s flicks, such as those in Train to Busan.
In 2022, however, the mainline series of The Walking Dead met its end. Luckily, fans had the movies that were planned and revealed previously to look forward to seeing. That was until the studios went quiet, along with the cinemas, and a restructure of the next steps of The Walking Dead was forced. Now a major franchise, you’d assume that a Walking Dead movie would still command strong box-office figures, but the studios disagree.
Establishing A Movie-Worthy Show
Airing on 31 October for just six episodes in 2010, The Walking Dead quickly established one of the most intriguing and high-stakes stories on TV. Zombies were a big threat, as were the people who survived the initial collapse of society. Supreme performances put in by the likes of Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, Lennie James, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, and Michael Rooker set the bar very high for what was to come.
Coming to a close in November 2022, the 11-season run did see its lead, Andrew Lincoln, depart, but for the most part, unless the story killed them off, The Walking Dead managed to retain much of its star-powered cast. The show got off to the hottest start in AMC history, reeling into 5.35 million viewers in the US for its premiere. For the start of the fifth season, The Walking Dead hit its record of 17.29 million and reached a further five million viewers over the week, per The Hollywood Reporter.
Pumping out so many episodes and seasons, and the story naturally cutting away some fan appeal as it went along due to its shocking and sudden character deaths, it was inevitable that views would eventually decline. The final season of three parts in eight-episode packages eclipsed two million viewers once. Circumstances for filming and broadcasting didn’t help, but few fans who stuck it out to the end would criticise the final season for being bad, like several other similar smash-hit shows like Game of Thrones and Lost.
It’s difficult to understate the popularity and significance of The Walking Dead now. It was the catalyst for so much in entertainment that has proven popular to this day and was the platform for many breakout stars on the big screen. Proving the reach and appeal of the brand, the show even has two spinoffs on the Hollywood Slots section of 888casino, one of the leading online casino platforms. The site's extensive slots library and range of promotions earned it top marks, with The Walking Dead and TWD: Ca$h Collect ranking among its best games on the site. The show remains a major draw and a huge brand beyond TV, but it may not suit the cinema anymore.
The demise of the planned TWD movies
In becoming such a major piece of entertainment, The Walking Dead could also be seen as responsible for TV rising to prominence as the place for extensive, high-budget, big-name storytelling. Essentially, it has helped to make TV the only natural choice for further exploration of its universe. A movie that wraps up the story of Rick Grimes – which was planned and revealed in 2018 – perhaps wouldn’t have cinematic appeal when the show’s audiences are so used to a deeper dive into characters and stories that run for several hours rather than a couple.
Of course, in 2018, the cinema was raking in cash from blockbuster hits predominantly put out by Disney. Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Incredibles 2, and Aquaman all hailed from pre-established moves or franchises, and The Numbers records that they smashed past $1 billion at the worldwide box office. So, it looked like a movie from a hit show would be able to go big at the cinema. A lot changed in the meantime, and the movies were cancelled. However, the end of season 11 of The Walking Dead doesn’t spell the end for the franchise or its previously movie-bound stories.
TWD movies will now be spin-off TV shows
Speaking to the hit that The Walking Dead and several other shows took over the last few years, AMC has essentially had to scrap their movie plans but still wants to keep expanding the franchise. There are already several spin-offs to The Walking Dead released and ongoing, but to conclude season 11, they tagged on a couple of extra reveals of upcoming stories featuring the core stars of the original show.
Now, the previously unveiled Rick Grimes movie will be a show that also features Michonne (Danai Gurira) to finish the long-separated couple’s journey. Along with this, enemies Maggie (Lauren Cohen) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) will be on a mission to New York for a limited series, and Daryl (Norman Reedus) will be in Paris for his show. So, rather than the announced trilogy of TWD movies, it will now be three spin-offs with legacy characters.
The big screen doesn’t make sense for The Walking Dead at this point in time, and with AMC determined not to lose momentum again, spin-off TV shows seem like the logical choice. At least fans will get to spend more time with five of the true stars of the entire show.