'The Walking Dead' universe chief says the Rick Grimes' movie will 'be amazing' and thinks the final season of 'TWD' may be split into 3 parts
- Insider caught up with "
The Walking Dead" universe chief content officer Scott Gimpleas "Fear TWD" and "TWD: World Beyond" wrap up for 2020.
- Gimple says fans shouldn't expect to see Rick Grimes at the CRM facility on "World Beyond," but that doesn't mean he wasn't there at some point.
- It's likely that the final 24 episodes of "TWD" will be split into three parts — season 11A, 11B, and 11C, each with eight episodes.
- He, Robert Kirkman, Andrew Lincoln, and more are working to make the first Rick Grimes' "TWD" movie "amazing."
As the three "The Walking Dead" shows come to a close in 2020, Insider caught up with "TWD" universe chief content officer Scott Gimple to ask him most of our lingering questions.
In a wide-ranging conversation, we discussed the three shows, Rick's location, those "TWD" movie(s), how the 24 final episodes of the flagship's final season will roll out, and what's going on with Negan's redemption arc.While Gimple didn't answer every question we threw his way directly, we were surprised by how much the usually tight-lipped maestro of "TWD" universe shared. He gave us one definitive answer about Rick and shared some intel on hopes to work with Corey Hawkins again who left "TWD" on season seven (and was apparently traded to the CRM).
We caught up with Gimple as he was deep into working on 'Fear TWD' after season 6's first 7 episodes wrapped
It's good to catch up again. So, tell me, what part of "The Walking Dead" universe are you working on right now?
I'm just getting off of a "Fear" ["The Walking Dead"] call. Lots of interesting things afoot there. We were talking way, way, way ahead of where we are now.
Rick is not at the Civic Republic facility that's located in upstate New YorkWell, I have some "World Beyond," some "Fear," and some "TWD" questions because so much is going on. I was happily surprised to see you guys landed on Ithaca, New York, for at least part of the CRM facility. I thought that was an interesting choice as someone who went to Syracuse and is very familiar with the upstate New York area. How and why did you guys land on that?
This is now completely insider stuff. This is not story stuff at all. It was about the journey that these girls needed to take. It was about the Western part of the country potentially being in different parts of the "Walking Dead" universe stories. It really just worked for the story we were telling.
OK. Is it safe to say that Rick is at this facility? Or is that something we need to keep watching "World Beyond" to find out?You know what? I'm going to say this because I think it's critical to be straight with it. He is not at that facility. Definitively. Some people might be annoyed that I'm saying that, but I just, I wouldn't want people expecting that. You know what I mean?
Yeah. Wow. I appreciate you giving that answer.
I could tease it out, but I want to be straight with the people. I will say though — even as much as like with the A's and the B's — do we find out more about this mythology that Rick is tied up in? Absolutely. Is Rick hanging out there? No, he is not. Could Rick have ever been there? Certainly possible, but we're not going to be rolling up to him hanging out there.
Gimple explained why he's not a fan of giving a definitive answer all the timeDid we finally get an answer about what it means to be an "A" or "B" earlier this season on "World Beyond"? Or is that still a little unclear?
I'm gonna say this. The way we revealed it on the show is consistent with how it is in the universe, but I'm not going to break it down any more than what the show did.
I mean, that's right up there on the screen.I have to try.
No, no, I mean, that's a totally fair play. We knew what we were doing there.Sometimes I'm just not sure if things are supposed to be inferred or if there's some definitive answer down the line. I'll say this. I always hate giving the definitive answer. That's happened a few times in stuff that I love — franchises I love — [where] definitive answers have been given in interviews. I think that's bananas where it's like, "Oh, this is what the story means. And you have to read this one interview to find out."
It's unlikely we'll see Jadis/Anne show up on 'TWD: World Beyond,' but not impossible
I asked the fans what they want to know about "World Beyond" going into season two. They want to know if we may see Jadis since we know she flew back to the CRM so many years ago.
Oh, wow. I hate being the person who can't answer all these questions, but, we'll have to wait and see on that one. It is unlikely, but not impossible.
Are the three shows building to a giant war? Gimple reminded us of the massive group Michonne saw when leaving in search of Rick.I had this thought while watching "World Beyond" and "Fear" back to back one week. The three shows, they're setting up these massive armies. You have the CRM, which has over 200,000 people. I don't know how many people are in the militia...
That's the population.
Of course. We have the Commonwealth, who we briefly met on "TWD." Then Strand started to build the militia for Ginny on "Fear TWD." So I see three large groups — maybe Strand and the Commonwealth group eventually team-up. Is "The Walking Dead" universe, teasing a giant showdown between the three communities for the super-sized, final season of "TWD" or the future Rick Grimes movies?Well, first of all, I'm not going to answer your question, but I'll throw something else [out there], which is, don't forget the group that we last saw Michonne with.
That's a huge group there. That's massive. They're on the march. I would say we have a lot of story to tell and we're going to tell it.
Could 'The Walking Dead' and 'Fear TWD' line up again? 'Never say never.'With "The Walking Dead" ending in 2022, what does this mean for "Fear"? Is that show going to keep going or can we expect to see a flash-forward and see these two shows line up again? I imagine there has to be some plan there. You said you've been deep in that lately.
The shows are pretty separate as far as their stories go. I mean, obviously, you got Dwight and Sherry. You've got Morgan [all from "TWD" on "Fear"]. But both those shows are on their own trajectories. Again, I never say never because we have 24 episodes to do on "Walking Dead." We just finished our six, sort of, "10 C" episodes. But, yeah, they're kind of on different trajectories.
'TWD' seasons are usually 16 episodes long. The 11th season, however, will be 24 episodes. They may be rolled out in 3 parts.I love the reference to "10 C" because looking at the final season of "The Walking Dead," I asked [showrunner] Angela [Kang] about this and she wasn't sure at the time. Do you know if the 24 episodes are going to be two halves of 12 or a season "A," "B," and "C" each with eight episodes? I'm pretty, fairly sure it's an "A," "B," and "C." I'm not 100% sure. So I think, even if I were to give you an answer on that now, it very well could change.
I will say that eight-episode blocks are kind of our sweet spot. I think it's a good bet, but I don't want to totally embarrass myself when a different decision is made.
We have not seen the last of giant walker hordes in 'The Walking Dead' universe because of the pandemic
I spoke with ["Fear TWD" showrunners] Andrew [Chambliss] and Ian [Goldberg], about what changes, if any, that filming during the pandemic had on the next nine episodes. They mentioned not much because the anthology format of the current season lent itself to writing for COVID, unknowingly. But they did have to consider how many walkers and how many extras are in scenes as the pandemic continues. As we're heading into the final season of "The Walking Dead" after these bonus season 10 episodes, are the days of a large walker herd or army over on "TWD"?
No, I wouldn't say that only because I'd say where there's a will, there's a way. We wouldn't put anybody's safety in question, but when I was showrunning. Oh my God, it's crazy, like seven years ago... the technology is so much different.We've done things on all the shows now that I feel like the big brother who didn't get the good toys. Even some of the stuff I've been able to do on the shows that I've been intimately involved in, I'm like, "Holy crap." I wish I could have done this back in the day, back when I was in the old-timey days of season four and five. With technology and even just incredibly recent technology, we can do incredible things.
Things are gonna not only get back to normal, I believe, even if they suddenly somehow didn't, that digital is better than ever. I think people will get their delicious walker hordes.
They were already considering a 'Here's Negan' adaptation on 'The Walking Dead.' The pandemic helped speed that process up.
On "TWD," we're finally getting a "Here's Negan" episode, based on the standalone book featuring Negan's backstory. Was that always in the cards or was that something that came up specifically because of the six bonus episode format?It was very much in the cards. The episode format, I think sped it up a bit, though. If anybody saw that episode, they wouldn't think that because it's one of the most brilliant episodes that the show has done... This got accelerated. This was something we were looking at, but it's going to be an amazing episode. I'm so proud of everybody who worked on that one. I'm proud of the entire season. They shot six episodes in six weeks. I think "The Walking Dead," Angela, and the writers, the producers, crew, the cast did an amazing job, putting those all together. I never have wanted to be on set more and I could not get to set because, people who pop in and out, you can't do that anymore. I can't wait for people to see "Here's Negan," but I can't wait for them to see all of them.
They're aware they can't have Negan's redemption arc on the show without revisiting and acknowledging what he's done in the past
I want to ask real quick about Negan because he's had this redemption arc of late on "The Walking Dead," but it seems like both "TWD" and "Fear the Walking Dead" are having a reckoning of sorts with Negan's past demons in order for him to move forward. We've seen "Fear" start to explore Sherry's PTSD at the hands of Negan. And it looks like we're going to revisit the tension between Maggie and Negan on "The Walking Dead." Is that what's going on here? Is "TWD" universe ready to confront all of Negan's past transgressions?
I think they loom large in the characters that they've affected and people just simply can't move on, um, considering what he did and, and he can't move on. For every redemption that he's had — he's had a few last season — however better a person he becomes or how much he returns to maybe somebody that he was, he has to face what he became. And, I think the biggest part of it, even with Dwight and Sherry — and it's huge on "Fear" — but with Maggie returning [to "TWD"] it can't be just like, "Hey, we're cool, right?" It doesn't work like that.I think a lot of people appreciate that you're circling back to those things.
Yeah. I mean, we have to. To honor the story we have to.
Gimple knows what 'PPP' means and hopes to work with Corey Hawkins, who played Heath, again
Something that always sticks in my mind is whether or not we're ever going to learn what PPP means. [For those who don't recall, back on season seven, after Heath disappeared, Tara, who is now dead, found a card with the letters "PPP" on it. It never came up again.]
That's more than I was expecting. That's always on my list to ask Angela and I always run out of time. So I'm glad that I got to ask one of you.It's on my list. Let me put it that way.
Gimple wants to reiterate that the Rick Grimes movie is happening
We have "The Walking Dead" and "Fear the Walking Dead" returning next year. Is there anything you want to tease for the return of either show or anything else going on in the universe?Beyond that, I mean, I'll give you some things that are hardly definitive, but I just want to reiterate. We are continuing to work on the movie. It is happening. We're taking this time from COVID and we're hunkering down and Mr. [Andrew] Lincoln, Mr. [Robert] Kirkman, Mr. [David] Alpert,
I don't mind telling people that we're working on it. I know people are really itchy. These are no joke. We make an episode of TV in eight days. Movies are a different thing. It's going to be amazing. For all the pressure that we have on us for taking this long, that only makes it [so] that we have to make it amazing. So we will.
"TWD" returns to AMC on February 28, 2021, at 9 p.m. for six bonus episodes. You can follow along with our "TWD" coverage here.
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