With production now well underway on the show, showrunner David Erickson has been discussing some of the finer details of the upcoming Walking Dead “companion series”, Fear the Walking Dead.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about the timeline of this new series, Erickson said, “We are loosely covering the period of time that Rick was in his coma in Season 1. We’re able to watch and experience the things that he missed. It’s more of a parallel story than a prequel; imagine the opening where Rick gets shot and goes in his coma — that day was probably very close to our Day 1. We’re playing out the idea of what was going on in the country and the world until he woke up, stepped outside and it’s welcome to the apocalypse. That’s why a “companion piece” has been the phrase used at the network. It’s not a prequel in the sense of Better Call Saul, where we’re jumping back six, seven years. It does tie very specifically into the pilot of the original. ‘Prequel’ is not the right word; it’s kind of its own strange, hybrid thing. I wish I had a better word.”
Moving on to the main characters of Fear the Walking Dead, Erickson went on, “It’s about a family: Travis just moved in with his girlfriend Madison after they got married. She has two children, one of whom has some issues. Travis has a very pissed-off teenager and an ex-wife. You’re talking about two people who, as the story opens, all they want is to bring their family together under one roof and make everyone whole. The irony for us is that the only thing that helps accomplish that is that the world ends. What’s intriguing to me is to take these problems, which I think would make for a compelling drama, and put them in this much larger canvas and see how they play out. All of the issues that we establish, these are the things that in my head will come to fruition in Seasons 3, 4, 5 and 6. It forges an interesting introduction into this world. It’s much more about the “shark” you don’t see in Season 1. We obviously play some of the tropes — and there are definitely walkers — but it’s people trying to wrap their brain around what the hell is going on and not fully understanding the zombie apocalypse by Act 1. It’s going through that process of the colleague or the friend you had coffee with the day before is now trying to kill you. And your first thought’s going to be, ‘They’re sick, they’re on something.’ It takes a bit of time for everyone to wrap their brains around what this truly means.”
At present the first season has been confirmed as just six episodes, although a second season has already been ordered by AMC. On the likelihood of expanding the second year to include more episodes, Erickson suggested, “I would imagine the network has a very specific plan. I think thirteen is a great number; fifteen, sixteen, it’s really a question of having the time to sit down and make sure we’re not burning story to burn story; that we’re able to build something that’s layered and textured and compelling. I think it’s a safe bet that if things go well, they’ll probably want more rather than less, but I’m not sure what that number’s going to be.”
Set in Los Angeles, Fear the Walking Dead will star Cliff Curtis as Travis, Kim Dickens as Madison, and Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam-Carey as Nick and Alicia, Madison’s children. Elizabeth Rodriguez and Mercedes Mason will also feature in the show.
Fear the Walking Dead will debut on AMC later this year, with a UK home has yet to be confirmed at this stage.
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