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The Walking Dead
Photograph: Jace Downs/AMC

Why is 'The Walking Dead' ending after season 11?

It's not just about the global pandemic.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

The good news: You've got 31 new episodes of The Walking Dead to catch. The bad news: the beloved series will come to an end after season 11, which will be made up of 24 episodes set to run from the fall of 2021 through the end of 2022. 

News of the show's wrap-up plans made headlines earlier this week alongside an announcement regarding season 10: the installment's finale will air on October 4 but fans will be treated to an additional 6 episodes in the spring before season 11 airs in 2021.

But the question on everybody's mind is: given its success, why is the show ending? Mostly, as an effort to avoid outpacing the original material—an error that many deem to have blotched the legacy of one of the most defining shows in television history, Game of Thrones.

The Walking Dead is based on the eponymous comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. The storyline laid out by the writers was to be explored by the AMC show by the end of a potential season 12 but, given a global pandemic that has forced productions of all sorts to halt their plans, the crew has had to slightly alter its schedule. 

Originally, the plans involved a 16-episode season 11 that would have premiered in the upcoming weeks, eventually followed by a final season 12. What AMC decided to do instead is to add episodes to the already-shot season 10 and then make the following installment a 24-chapter one. As a result, we'll be treated to just two episodes less than originally planned.

As sad as we are about bidding farewell to the cast, we're looking forward to the spinoff shows that are in the works. One of them, starring Normas Reedus and Melissa McBride as, respectively, Daryl Dixon and Carol Peletier, is already scheduled to debut in 2023, although yet to-be-titled. Other follow-up productions have already premiered or are currently in production. 

It seems like, after all, The Walking Dead will go on to live in a format or another for quite some time—and we're oh-so-excited about that.  

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