Many may not remember, but a year ago, when AMC announced that The Walking Dead would be ending its run with a 24-episode final season, it was news to Scott Gimple — the architect of The Walking Dead universe — Angela Kang, the showrunner, and the entire cast of the series. As Jeffrey Dean Morgan put it to Collider, “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.” The announcement threw the whole production into disarray:
It came from nowhere and there was such a huge pivot. 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.
It seems, perhaps, that there’s not a lot of communication between the network and the cast and production of The Walking Dead. In fact, in yet another example of that, Jeffrey Dean Morgan appeared on The Rich Eisen Show this week to mostly talk about his beloved Seattle Seahawks, but he was also asked about his new The Walking Dead spin-off, Isle of The Walking Dead, which is set in New York and will take place after the events of The Walking Dead, an announcement in and of itself that is a spoiler.
“Now that we’ve announced that there’s going to be a spin-off,” Morgan told Eisen, “I guess we don’t need to die. Spoiler Alert, folks. Sorry! I’m still not sure why we announced that already. It was sort of a shocker to me.”
It foreclosed a few possibilities for the ending of the series, and may have completely ruined the finale. Bygones, I guess? The irony is that Jeffrey Dean Morgan, as he tells Eisen, is himself “under orders not to say anything [about the ending] but to continue to talk about it.”
Speaking of the end of The Walking Dead, they’re wrapping up a year-and-a-half production on the final season in Georgia right now, and while actors might normally be sad about leaving a show that ran for 11 seasons and 12 years, that is not the case for Jeffrey Dean Morgan and what remains of the cast and production.
“It’s a lot,” Morgan tells Eisen, “but I gotta tell you, man. We’ve been here for 17-18 months. It’s time to go, you know what I mean? I think if it were a regular season and we were only shooting 16 episodes — we did 30 this year — there would be a lot more emotion. But at this point, everybody is just ready to be done and ready to go home.”
Can you blame them? When AMC started production on the final season of The Walking Dead, Donald Trump was still the President and had only just contracted COVID-19 himself. Do you remember how long ago that was? That’s how long the cast and crew have been stuck outside Atlanta. The wrap party for The Walking Dead is going to be an unopened champagne bottle and a piece of cake in a to-go box.
Source: The Rich Eisen Show