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As AMC's The Walking Dead returns to the grave for another season, fans of #RobertKirkman's zombie apocalypse are undoubtedly looking to the future. As we approach the Season 8 premiere and Episode 100, viewers are sure for more bloodshed and bullets when the show returns in October.
But, what of #TheWalkingDead #comicbook the show is based off? Now clocking in at an impressive 166 issues, released monthly, some are worried that the show could soon overtake its source.
We have been here before, with Kirkman himself confirming the show would never outpace the comics, but as we near 100 episodes, showrunner #ScottGimple has also weighed in on the issue of who could be playing catch-up.
Shuffling Toward The End Game
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gimple shot down the rumors that the show will soon overtake the comic books. Reassuring Dead-heads that the show will continue shuffling alongside its paper counterpart, he said it of course relies on Kirkman himself:
"With some plans we have for the future, I don’t think so. I think it’s unlikely, but it depends where the book stops."
#AMC's show is notorious for elongating its arcs, while our survivors in the comic books are currently a few years down the line and dealing with the catastrophic events of a whole new army of antagonists. Even with a proposed time-jump for the show, we can rest easy that there is plenty more meat on the comic book bones for the show. As for Kirkman rounding off his series, even after 14 years, he shows no signs of putting down his pen.
Season 20 And Beyond
As Season 7 kicked off an explosive storyline for Season 8, the show is anything but running out of steam and is still one of the most popular shows on television. Kirkman too added to Gimple's comments, saying that the show overtaking his material is almost impossible:
"I don't know if anyone sat down to do the math, but if the show is gaining on the comic book, it's at a very slow pace. We're expanding storylines so every now and then we zip through the comic book, and then we slow down for a while and add a bunch of stuff that's not in the comics. There's not any danger of that happening in any way."
Executive producer David Alpert joked that it would take up to Season 20 for the show to actually catch up, but Kirkman joked, "If we say Season 20 too often around Andrew Lincoln, he will murder us, and then you won't have to worry about anything!"
Stretching Out The Source
We have seen HBO's Game of Thrones overtake its source material, while fans of the Ice and Fire saga are STILL waiting for the sixth book some 11 years after the last one. However, news of The Walking Dead slowing down its pacing can also be seen as a positive. It is a give and take situation; although we seemed to whizz through the integral prison chapter of the story, the first half of Season 6 actually took place over the course of just one day!
Think of Kirkman's comics as more of a blueprint for the show, and we have seen showrunners drastically depart from it before — most recently with that Sasha twist from the Season 7 finale. While many expected Gimple to introduce the Whisperers this season to serve as the next Big Bad, it isn't a terrible idea to wait a little longer to meet the group who wear the skins of the dead.
Also, you can't blame the show for stretching out the "All Out War" storyline over two seasons; to have the Negan chapter wrapped in just one season would've been a desecration to the character. Although #JeffreyDeanMorgan's tenure as Negan has reigned over 17 episodes so far, you get the impression there is a lot more to come from the Sanctuary leader. Secondly, remember that The Walking Dead isn't as linear as we first thought. Character deaths, community introductions, and lines of dialogue are chopped and changed all over the place.
Whether or not The Walking Dead will be as long running as the likes of The Simpsons or Law and Order, Gimple and Kirkman are promising us many more years of walkers and Whisperers.