Although The Walking Dead finished its stellar run in Season 11, there are still fans wondering if Season 12 is in the cards.
The Walking Dead revolves around a large ensemble of survivors trying to stay alive in a zombie apocalypse.
The series first made its debut on AMC on October 31, 2010. After a decade of stories, The Walking Dead made its final bow during its eleventh and final season on November 20, 2022.
Will The Walking Dead Season 12 Ever Release?
It remains to be seen if AMC will decide to revive and release The Walking Dead Season 12. In fact, 12 seasons were initially planned for the hit AMC series.
In the "Letter Hacks" section of The Walking Dead issue #161 in 2016, via CinemaBlend, creator Robert Kirkman responded to a fan when asked about the future of the show, teasing the possibility of Season 12:
"It took us 6 seasons to get to [issue] 100, it won’t take us 6 years to get to 200 and that will take us to season … TWELVE. And we’ll still be ahead of the show at that point."
Kirkman's comment indicated that he, alongside AMC, was entertaining the idea of ending The Walking Dead in Season 12.
However, it's safe to assume that there are no plans to release The Walking Dead Season 12, considering that the universe is expanding with a plethora of spin-offs.
In an official statement, The Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple pointed out that the flagship show's ending will make way for new stories down the line:
"We have a lot of thrilling story left to tell on TWD, and then, this end will be a beginning of more Walking Dead — brand-new stories and characters, familiar faces and places, new voices, and new mythologies. This will be a grand finale that will lead to new premieres.
Evolution is upon us. The Walking Dead lives."
Why Was The Walking Dead Season 12 Scrapped?
Many have theorized that The Walking Dead's ending in Season 11 had something to do with the comic's surprise final issue in July 2019.
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman explained that the original plan for the comic was to run as far as issue #300, but he realized that he "didn't have enough story worked out to get there."
Aside from the comic book's ending, ratings and fan interest were also considered to other factors as to why The Walking Dead ended in Season 11.
After earning one of the biggest debuts in cable history in 2012 with 5.35 million viewers, The Walking Dead had a consistent run of strong viewership in consecutive seasons, headlined by a strong season 5 premiere (17.29 million during its debut on October 12, 2014).
However, the show ultimately received significant drops in ratings in the following years. Season 10, via NME, ended up with the show's lowest ratings ever after only earning 3 to 4 million viewers.
While some would say that The Walking Dead limped to the finish line due to its modest ratings, it wasn't the case for some of its stars.
Speaking with Collider in March 2021, Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan admitted that he was surprised that the show ended in Season 11, suggesting that showrunner Angela Kang and chief content officer Scott Gimple "had no idea either:"
"The news, when we got it in the middle of the pandemic, was a complete surprise, not only to me and the rest of the actors, but to everybody involved in the show from production. Scott Gimple and Angela Kang had no idea either. It came from nowhere and there was such a huge pivot."
Morgan continued by reflecting on the show's end, noting how "it took everybody by surprise:"
"I think they had Season 11 all mapped out, where they were going to go, and suddenly it became, 'We also have to close the story, in a way.' It took everybody by surprise, so it was a massive pivot. And then, they threw in the six tacked-on episodes to season 10, and instead of doing 16, we’re going to do 24 more. There was a lot of stuff to wrap our heads around."
The actor's comments strongly suggest that Season 11 wasn't the show's original ending, implying that Season 12 was indeed the endpoint and the show was, in fact, canceled.
Still, many would argue that The Walking Dead received a worthwhile ending in the super-sized Season 11, tying up loose ends while also setting up several spin-off shows to continue the universe in exciting ways.
How Many Walking Dead Spin-Off Shows Are There?
There are a total of six spin-off shows set in The Walking Dead universe; here's a quick rundown of every project.
Fear The Walking Dead is the first spin-off series that was released in 2015. In December 2021, AMC renewed the series for an eighth season, and it was later confirmed in January 2023 that it was the show's final season.
Fear The Walking Dead's first three seasons act as a prequel to the flagship series, with Season 4 slowly overlapping the main show's timeline by incorporating The Walking Dead characters like Lennie James' Morgan and Austin Amelio's Dwight.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond is the second spin-off show in the zombie apocalypse universe. The series premiered in 2020 and finished its run in December 2021 after two seasons.
World Beyond revolved around the story of teenagers who were the first generation to come of age in the post-apocalyptic era. The series expanded on in-universe aspects, such as the CRM and a tease of how the zombie plague started.
Tales of the Walking Dead is another spin-off that is described as an anthology, highlighting new and returning characters from the flagship series.
The show tells individual stories of new characters which then ties into the larger story of The Walking Dead universe. Tales of the Walking Dead ended its run on September 18, 2022.
The currently airing The Walking Dead: Dead City is the fourth spin-off that focuses on Negan and Maggie's journey to a post-apocalyptic Manhattan. The series acts as a direct sequel to The Walking Dead series finale.
Another spin-off in the works is The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, a show focused on the titular character's adventure in France which is said to be ground zero of the outbreak.
Perhaps the most anticipated spin-off show is the untitled Rick Grimes and Michonne series.
While the initial plan was to showcase a trilogy of movies to chronicle Rick Grimes' return, Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira announced during 2022's San Diego Comic-Con that their characters' story will continue in a six-episode series.
In an official press release, the Rick Grimes-led spin-off will revolve around the "epic love story of two characters changed by a changed world."
In this year's San Diego Comic-Con, AMC released the first teaser for Rick and Michonne's spin-off series while also confirming the title as The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.
Watch the teaser below:
Some have theorized that this spin-off is the true culmination of The Walking Dead franchise, with it potentially bringing back key characters like Daryl, Carol, Negan, and Maggie to reunite with the two lead stars.
All 11 seasons of The Walking Dead are available to stream on Netflix in the United States.
Fans can also purchase the show on Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, and Vudu.