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Bad news just dropped for The Walking Dead season 11

AMC giveth and AMC taketh away. 

At the San Diego Comic-Com@Home panel for The Walking Dead — one of three Walking Dead Universe panels scheduled for the virtual convention — it was announced that season 11 of the series will not premiere in October 2020 as planned. Due to essentially unavoidable production complications spurred by the ongoing coronavirus crisis, The Walking Dead season 11 has been significantly delayed ... to fall 2021. 

Showrunner Angela Kang was the bearer of the disappointing news, stating during the panel, "Obviously, COVID has kind of disrupted a lot of things for every workplace, including ours." She continued, "We will not be airing season 11 episodes this year as we normally would in October."

Every single season of The Walking Dead has premiered on AMC in October: season 1 on October 31, 2010; season 2 on October 16, 2011; season 3 on October 14, 2012; season 4 on October 13, 2013; season 5 on October 12, 2014; season 6 on October 11, 2015; season 7 on October 23, 2016; season 8 on October 22, 2017; season 9 on October 7, 2018; and season 10 on October 6, 2019. Pushing season 11 from October 2020 to fall 2021 (presumably October of that year, based on the tradition The Walking Dead has maintained throughout the years) makes sense — even if it's disappointing. 

Arguably, even if The Walking Dead season 11 could premiere a few months before fall 2021, scheduling it to debut in, say, summer 2021 would throw things off. October on AMC has long been The Walking Dead premiere time, and though there will be a larger gap between seasons than ever before, it seems the network executives and the series' creative team are committed to upholding the unwritten law of TWD season premiere windows.

It isn't all doom and gloom for The Walking Dead

Now, before any Walking Dead fans get too upset, there is a bright side to the bad news. Kang also confirmed that, to make up for season 11 being delayed to 2021, season 10 will be "extended" with additional episodes. While the 16th episode of The Walking Dead season 10 was recently confirmed to premiere on Sunday, October 4, these newly announced subsequent episodes won't begin airing until the beginning of next year, according to Kang.

"We're excited to announce an extended season 10, where there will be six extra episodes to follow the finale. Those will run in early 2021 if all goes well," she stated during the Walking Dead's Comic-Con@Home presentation.

As noted by sources close to the The Hollywood Reporter with knowledge of AMC's Walking Dead plans, these extra season 10 installments will be "full-length live-action episodes." No other details have been announced as of this writing, but Kang noted that the Walking Dead team is hard at work on the extra season 10 episodes as well as on season 11. 

"The writers' room for season 11 has been going remotely the past few months. We haven't been able to start production, but we will get back to work as soon as we safely can," she shared. "We're working on those now and will have more to share soon."

Check back with Looper for future updates on The Walking Dead.