Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why The Walking Dead Franchise Won't Be Ending Any Time Soon

"The Walking Dead" has become a television staple since arriving on Halloween night in 2010, outlasting its classic contemporaries like "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men." As a result of this longevity and the show's massive and devoted fanbase, it should come as no surprise that "TWD" has earned its place as the flagship title on AMC. However, after 11 total seasons, the zombie drama is finally on its way out. Its final batch of episodes will kick off in early 2022, putting the world created by the generation-defining, trend-setting program to bed once and for all, right?

As the 2020s soldier on, the world around "The Walking Dead" is getting some major expansion. This is hardly anything new, seeing as "Fear the Walking Dead" has been around on TV since 2015, and the limited series "The Walking Dead: World Beyond" recently wrapped up after a mere two seasons. In the years to come, a spin-off dedicated to fan-favorites Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride), an anthology series called "Tales of the Walking Dead," and a film trilogy focused on longtime protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) will all debut.

This may seem like a lot of "Walking Dead" content to look forward to, but rest assured, it's only the tip of the iceberg. The franchise will endure long after these examples premiere, and here's why.

The Walking Dead fits perfectly into AMC's business model

A big part of finding success in the entertainment industry these days is to keep your finger on the pulse of what's popular, which seems to be all of the stuff that was hot 10 or 20 years ago. A marketable tactic nowadays is to take these recognizable IPs of yesteryear and make them the center of their own shared universes — as seen with the likes of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "Power Rangers," to name a few — to get viewers' attention and money simultaneously. It goes without saying that "The Walking Dead" is more than eligible for this treatment.

On December 6, 2021, the Interim CEO of AMC Networks, Matt Blank, spoke about the company's year in retrospect and what its future looks like at the moment (via The Hollywood Reporter). He noted he has no intention of taking on larger competitors that he knows he can't beat at their own game, so he's adopting a more streamlined approach to production. Blank says his company's focus is "picking targeted audiences, targeted subject matter" to keep viewers coming back for more specific content. As one element of that business model, he feels that "TWD" is "a franchise that is going to live for a long time."

The specifics of Blank's comments are somewhat up to interpretation, but one thing is for sure: even though "The Walking Dead" is nearing its finale, the world it helped establish will live on in various new forms.