It's weird to think that this will be the last preview image gallery for AMC's The Walking Dead for, like… ever. Not completely sure it's fully sunk in yet, and this weekend's penultimate chapter (check out our review/series finale speculation article here) didn't do a whole lot to calm our nerves. Thankfully, Showrunner & EP Angela Kang & TWD CCO Scott M. Gimple were kind enough to offer some thoughts on what fans can expect from next week's series finale as well as an interesting tease about a "big twist" involving the spinoffs. But before we get to that, we have that image gallery for "Rest in Peace" (directed by Greg Nicotero, with story by Kang and the teleplay by Corey Reed & Jim Barnes). And our two biggest takeaways? First, seeing Judith (Cailey Fleming) moving around means our speculation theory was dead wrong (which we're very happy about). And then there's that image of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) sitting across from each other. That one image speaks so much on an emotional level and leaves me wondering if we'll see some narrative threads leading into their spinoff, The Walking Dead: Dead City.
Speaking with Deadline Hollywood during an interview that was posted shortly after the final credits rolled on the series' penultimate episode, Kang and Gimple both teased and clarified a few things regarding the series finale and the franchise's spinoff future. Here are some of the highlights:
Viewers Should Prepare for "A Really Emotional Ride" and "Some Surprises": "The finale, I think just everybody should be prepared for a really emotional ride. It's a roller coaster and… definitely surprises. I think there's some surprises in there, and it's also just incredible performances by our cast, like just some of the best work that some of them have done on the show, and that's saying a lot because there's such incredible acting from our cast like on a regular basis," offered Kang. Gimple added, "Yes, we will surprise you. I hope that any surprise we might have is about just achieving the emotional sort of conclusion to the show."
The TWD Series Finale Leaves "A Door Open," But Spinoffs Will Have "Big Twist" (Hmmm?): The approach we took was like we've got to close this chapter in some way, but it's closing a chapter with leaving a door open. But that said, I believe…well, I know in one case, like, without saying too much, the Daryl spinoff is going to start with like a big twist, and I'm pretty sure Maggie/Negan does too, so it's not necessarily going to be exactly what you expect from this to that."- Kang
Gimple Makes It Clear: TWD Spinoffs Continue Flagship Series' Stories: When asked to confirm that the spinoffs aren't prequels or alternative universe stories, Gimple responded, "They aren't that. I mean, I won't get into it in my circumspect fashion, but a couple of things in the story may be parallel because of certain narrative reasons. However, it isn't like, 'oh, The Walking Dead you watched was totally different' or something like that if you didn't know it. You're right. They're different stories featuring characters you love. My goal and Angela's goal for 'The Walking Dead' was to give the audience a sense of completion, a satisfying ending. But Dominic, you're right. It is a different ending. It is not as conclusive as, say, a 'Six Feet Under.' I look upon it as this incredible, exciting, intense, thematic conclusion to 'The Walking Dead' story. Even in that conclusion, yeah, we're tipping the hat toward the future a little bit. But emotionally, it's all 'Walking Dead.'"