Due to COVID-19 restrictions, production work on Walking Dead, as with all TV and movie production, was halted in March. For Walking Dead fans, that meant that the season finale – the long-awaited conclusion to bring together everything that’s happened over the last 15 episodes – won’t be released until early next fall at the earliest.
The suspense is difficult for Walking Dead enthusiasts to bear but even more stress-inducing is the uncertainty over Season 11. In previous years the show would start to film the next season by early spring. However, the situation is as uncertain as a Vegas casino online wager. Even the actors have no idea of what to expect with Season 11, or, for that matter, what might happen with the planned Walking Dead: World Beyond and Fear the Walking Dead movies which were scheduled to start filming this summer.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan spoke for his castmates when he said, “As far as The Walking Dead and the next season, I don’t know. No one knows when and where and how and if, y’know? It’s a big waiting game to see what’s going to happen.”
Greg Nicotero is more optimistic. He said that the writers can work remotely and keep producing scripts. That way, the material will be ready for the actors once lockdowns are lifted and production can restart. “The good news is the writers are cranking away. So fingers crossed that we’ll have all of our scripts or a lot of the scripts ready to go by the time we start production. Television’s tricky because you got to give the writers’ room time to break the story. Once you get into production and that boat leaves the dock, then you’re sort of holding on for dear life.”
As the coronavirus restrictions ease however, Hollywood crews are dealing with the unknown. Paul Tassi who writes about video games, movies, television and the Internet for Forbes, notes that it’s one thing to talk about post-production work returning to normal. Filming, however, will be very different in a coronavirus world. As is true everywhere else, masks will probably be mandatory. That, of course, won’t work well when the actors are doing their scenes.
One factor that might indicate that Walking Dead will get moving soon is that the show films in Georgia. Georgia’s Republican governor is starting to lift restrictions more quickly than most other states so filming could start again for Walking Dead faster than for other productions if the cast and crew agree to return to filming.
One big disappointment for Walking Dead fans is that the Rick Grimes spin-off films may not even get off the ground. The saga of Rick Grimes, the character played by Andrew Lincoln, gripped viewers for 9 seasons since the beginning of the series. Universal Pictures has now announced that it won’t go ahead with the continuation of Rick’s story as a big screen movie.
Rick was one of Walking Dead’s central characters and fans followed him as he battled walkers and enemies. In his last appearance, a mysterious assailant flew him away in a helicopter. There was a lot of speculation about what happened to him and the studio released a statement saying that Rick would appear in Walking Dead movies as the story continued. Universal was set to team up with AMC to bring Rick’s final chapters to the big screen.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Universal started to release their films on video on demand (VOD) channels even before the films were released for cinema showing. Bypassing cinemas caused Regal Cinema and AMC Theatres to refuse to screen films that do not respect the agreed-upon window-of-time between cinema release and digital distribution. So the Walking Dead film may end up not airing in cinemas.
Universal released a statement reading, “Our goal in releasing Trolls: World Tour on PVOD was to deliver entertainment to people who are sheltering at home, while movie theatres and other forms of outside entertainment are unavailable. Based on the enthusiastic response to the film, we believe we made the right move. In fact, given the choice of not releasing Trolls: World Tour, which would not only have prevented consumers from experiencing the movie but also negatively impacted our partners and employees, the decision was clear.”
AMC’s statement read, “As we plan our reopening, the health and safety of our guests and associates is our absolute highest priority. To be able to open, we also need a line of sight into a regular schedule of new theatrical blockbusters that get people truly excited about returning to their favourite movie theatres.”
One Walking Dead enterprise that is immune to the pandemic is the Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners video game which was released early this year. Shortly after the release, game developer Skydance Interactive confirmed that the game will be getting new content in the coming months. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything session, narrative designer Ben Fuhmann wrote of the game, which launched on PSVR, “The team is working on new content for the game as we speak! Between S&S support and the Quest port of the game we will be staying very busy indeed!”
Many fans are hoping for more campaign-style gameplay and a survival mode in the game which has had good overall reviews ever since its release. Fuhrmann didn’t share how the new content would be introduced. “We don’t have specific details on that yet. All I can say at this stage in development is that it’s going to be very fun!”
Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a first-person shooter virtual reality for PlayStation 4 and Windows. The game had a surprised-launch on PSVR and is now in the works for the Oculus Quest.