The long wait is finally over! The zombie apocalyptic series The Walking Dead returns with its much-anticipated last 6 episodes of S10, starting Monday, 1 March on FOX (DStv channel 125) with a simulcast at 03:00 and a repeat at 20:45.
No one is more excited than executive producer Angela Kang. “We usually average a 16-episode season, but with S10, we have the luxury to expand it to 22 episodes in total and tell more stories about our characters and their danger-filled journeys. Our de facto end for the season was in October last year, but then the network decided to grant us more episodes as a build-up to S11, which will be our final season, airing in 2022,” she says.
And the bonus episodes will have you glued to the screen, pitchfork in hand.
6 of the best
Angela is proud when she says that she thinks the extra episodes are some of the best in S10. “You’re going to see these beloved characters pull through some pretty hairy situations. I think these episodes are kind of like classic The Walking Dead survival stories on the road. Those are always really fun for us to write, and the fans will really connect to that because there’s some stuff that’s really base-level things that they’re dealing with, like how do you get food and proper shelter? We throw in some mystery and intrigue and some good scares. I think our actors did an amazing job in these episodes, and I hope fans will tune in and watch these folks just doing their awesomeness. I’m always blown away by what our actors do.”
The pandemic & fanning the flames
The birth of the bonus episodes was partially in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, says Angela. “COVID-19 hampered filming last year, and we had to find a safe path for cast and crew to continue to go back to set. So it’s a blessing the network granted us more episodes because now we had a chance to expand on some of things that we think will give our audience a rich experience of understanding more about these characters, where they are, and planting the seeds for growing storylines.”
Angela also explained that they wrote these episodes for the fans. “We write from the perspective of fans and we get to write the greatest fan fiction. That’s what our job is. We put ourselves in the shoes of our fans and ask ourselves what would they like to see in the series on TV? I think that was really what informed our decisions to kind of dive into certain bits of the story, and hopefully it will be fun for people to watch.”
With the pandemic, Angela was concerned that maybe the 6 new episodes might be too depressing. “That was the feeling I got when speaking to the writers. But in the end, we all decided that 1 thing that underlies the darkness of the series is a feeling of hopefulness. And I think that there is a sense that there is a will to survive and to push on, and to just make the best of the impossible to even comprehend circumstances. I’ve met with various people from all walks of life who are fans of the show and they told me they understand the notion of struggle our characters face in the series. And they understand the desire to try to work through it, and to survive that. So I think there is something that is so human about our story and people can relate to that in the strange times we are living in. I hope that there is comfort to be found in that and in these characters who love each other so much, and who have really been striving to make a better world for themselves and their children.”
The Walking Dead marches on
Although fans of the series will only see 6 episodes this year, Angela and her team have been hard at work on the final season. “We are actively working on S11,” says the executive producer. “It will be a long season for us, 24 episodes, the longest yet for any season we’ve done. We are all working on that and making sure that all of our partners at the network and studio are onboard. But you know, it’s The Walking Dead, so everything has incredibly high stakes. We’ll be introducing new communities that are antagonists, sometimes allies, and there’s going to be all the human drama that we’ve built up. We have Maggie (Lauren Cohan) back, and there’s a great magazine story that we’re working on. I don’t want to get into spoilers, but there will be a lot to look forward to for our fans.”
Filming during COVID-19
1 of the toughest things for the crew and cast was filming during COVID-19 and following protocols. “Usually there are hordes of zombies in our show. You’ll now see less of the zombies, but they are still there. And there are more character-driven episodes,” says Angela. “I also think that what’s been really a challenge for everybody who produced something during COVID-19 was figuring out the protocols. Everything in terms of the way we do things now is just so different. There are all these safety protocols on set that we follow and make sure that everybody is going to have a good, protected experience on set, while still trying to deliver a show that is scaled down with fewer hours and less crowds on set. We also had to set up a mobile lab on set where everyone working on the series could be tested and results released quickly. With all the protocols we have on set, mask wearing and social distancing, it really worked out well at the end, and we can continue to expand what we are able to do as a production.”
Watch The Walking Dead S10C Mondays on FOX (DStv channel 125) at 03:00 and 20:45
Stream it online with the DStv app
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