‘Walking Dead’ Spinoff Could Explain How the Zombie Outbreak Started

The Walking Dead prequelFrank Ockenfels/AMC

AMC’s planned The Walking Dead spinoff is now quite possibly going to be a prequel detailing just how the zombie plague was created, as reported by TVLine. So far, the reaction from fans has been a dispassionate, zombie-like “enh,” but everyone at the cable network is still trying to drum up enthusiasum for the followup to their most popular show. 

The series, set a few years before The Walking Dead, will finally answer exactly how the virus was made, and for what purpose. Series creator Robert Kirkman is developing the new show as well, but he’ll no longer have his own source material to work with, as the comics remain focused on Rick & Co. Instead, we could be spending time with the geniuses who developed a zombie supervirus and then let it turn into a raging epidemic. 

What’s odd is that AMC is framing this idea as a novel, exciting concept — getting to see what happened before the apocolypse hit. But if anything, there’s been a glut of films with that exact premise, and the thing that made Walking Dead stand out was how the characters had to deal with the huge change that wasn’t their fault. But plenty of fans will likely take this new series as a chance to jump ship from the staid characters on the original show, which has struggled to find an emotional center or meaningful conflicts from the remaining cast. But, with the same people behind the camera on both shows, there’s no reason to believe the same thing won’t happen with a new group of people. Especially a group of people that develop a zombie supervirus. And then release it into the world. Which it ruins. It’s creating a The Newsroom-like hindsight-is-20/20 timeline, but instead of enabling the characters to somehow be future-predicting supersavants, they’ll constantly be messing up — because they can’t fix their own mistakes or come up with a cure without contradicting The Walking Dead

This series isn’t even planned to air until 2015, so there’s plenty of news to come, and potentially change. But with their only other new shows on the horizon another potential comic book adaptation and another prequel, AMC has their work cut out for them.