It's been about a month and a half since the Season 5 finale of The Walking Dead and I'm sure I'm not the only fan who is craving to see more. Luckily for us, this year AMC is premiering the much anticipated spin-off series: Fear The Walking Dead. Since the TWD finale at the end of March, AMC has released 2 videos regarding the new show, one being a teaser trailer and the other showcasing short interviews with creators and executive producers Robert Kirkman, Dave Erickson, Greg Nicotero and Gale Anne Hurd. Moviepilot staff member, Allanah Faherty, already did an amazing job breaking down both videos, highlighting some fine points that might play a big part in the upcoming first season. Based on what I gathered from the videos, other interviews with some of the producers and some fan speculation, I'm here to throw out some ideas as to what could happen in this companion series.
1. The Origin
Figured I'd start off with a no brainer. From the first whispers and murmurs that surrounded this show, we all expected that they were going to delve into the source of the outbreak. Season 1 of The Walking Dead starts 3 months into the post-apocalyptic world (based on how long Rick was in his coma). The most we see about those 3 months are small flashbacks showing Rick's accident and how Lori, Carl and Shane come in contact with Carol's family. What we know about the origin of the walkers is revealed in Season 2. Rick informs the group of what Dr. Jenner of the CDC told him: that everyone is infected with some sort of virus that causes a (any) dead person to turn, regardless of being bit, as confirmed by the death of Shane. But the question is: how did they get infected in the first place?
2. The Eugene Theory
One theory could be that of Eugene's lies. We all know that everything that came out of Eugene's mouth that pertained to the virus/the cure/needing to go to DC was a fallacy. However, there is a saying that there is truth behind every lie. In the Season 5 episode "No Sanctuary," Eugene talks about the "project" he was a part of:
"I was part of a 10-person team at the Human Genome Project to weaponized diseases to fight weaponized diseases. Pathogenic microorganisms with pathogenic microorganisms. Fire with fire."
Despite this being fabricated, there could be a chance that Eugene heard it from an unknown yet reliable source. Not much is known of Eugene's past besides that he lied in order to survive from group to group in his journey to DC. The details of said project seem very detailed, almost too detailed to just be a random lie thought of in the spur of the moment.
3. Breaking Bad Theory
Another fan theory (and personal favorite) is the "Breaking Bad Theory." It is speculated that in Seasons 1, 2 and 4 of TWD, there are Easter eggs that link the two shows together. But I'll get into all that later. The main thing I intend to highlight in this section is the blue substance at the bottom of Merle's bag of drugs. Fans of both shows have theorized that Breaking Bad is a prequel to TWD: the source of the walker virus coming from the blue meth Walter White and Jesse Pinkman created. Could it be that what they used some sort of chemical in their drug that not only makes the meth "pure" and give it a shade of blue, but also causes an unpredictable side effect of spreading a new disease? Or maybe some other drug dealer tried to push a knock off version of the drug and things went terribly terribly wrong? I'm not a scientific guy, but in a world where the dead are walking it could be possible.
4. Religious Theory
A third origin theory involves something that Hershel mentions in the Season 2 finale, "Beside the Dying Fire":
"I can't profess to understand God's plan. Christ promised the Resurrection of the Dead. I just thought He had something a little different in mind."
Over the past 5 seasons, TWD has been known to thrown in biblical references on occasion. There is very obvious evidence of this in different forms: the blatant quotes from the bible in a conversation between Hershel and Merle in Season 3, Father Gabriel preaching about "how the devil disguises himself" to Diana, and the bible verses inside St. Sarah's Church (as Allanah wrote about in another article). However, there have been other, more subtle clues to religion within the show: Noah wanting to build in order to save lives (TWD Noah referring to walls in Alexandria in contrast to Noah's Ark), Sasha coming across the dried up river with dead frogs in episode 5.10: Them (in reference to 2 of the plagues cast upon Egypt), and a book on Diana's shelf entitled Wide is the Gate that could be a reference to Matthew 7:13-15 (as discussed in Grumpyclown's article on tv.com)
All that being said, can it really be the work of a higher power that is causing all this mayhem? Again, the show has on occasion made references to religion but are they really going to go full force and label the cause of the apocalypse an act of God? I guess we'll find out.
5. The Walkers
Those who have watched the show since the beginning might have noticed a major difference between the walkers of Season 1 to the walkers of Season 5, and I'm not just talking about the physical. It is believed that once someone has turned, they lose everything that makes them a human. No memory of who they are or who anyone else is, no other desire besides the need for food. When Amy reanimated in Andrea's arms after being bit, she did not show any signs of recognizing her sister except for being her first meal. Same thing happens with Michael Coleman, the old man in Woodbury who dies of cancer. While participating in Milton's experiment, he fails to recognize his family in the photos or react positively to the musical stimuli of the record player. However, this has not always been the case.
The very first walker we come across is Summer (a.k.a. Little Girl Walker). In the first episode, we see her pick up a teddy bear as she makes her way down the road only to reveal later that she is a walker. Another example of some intelligence within walkers is in the second episode of the series: Guts, where we see a walker try to break into the department store with a rock/brick. And let's not forget the church scene in Season 2, episode 1, "What Lies Ahead." In this episode, the group stumbles upon a church as they search for Sophia. Being drawn in by the sound of church bells, the group enters to see walkers sitting in the pews, as if they were attending a service. Once they hear the noise of the doors open the three walkers act as walkers again and pursue the group. Why is it that the walkers ignored the bell sound but reacted to the presence of people? Could it be that those people recently passed in their seats and remembered what they were there for? Or was it that they still had something human left in them to keep the peace in a holy place?
Producer Greg Nicotero shed light on these discrepancies during a panel discussion I attended at Walker Stalker Con Chicago back in February. An audience member asked him what the thought process was in the case of Summer picking up the bear in the middle of the road. He responded by stating they were still figuring out the vibe of the show and which direction they wanted to take the walkers. Could the walkers still remember something of their human lives subconsciously? Or are they completely gone and are just mindless killers looking for sustenance?
It's possible that Fear The Walking Dead could feature more walkers who have some humanity left in them. Walkers could be seen roaming towards specific locations such as homes or stores (much like Jenny Jones - Morgan's late wife). Or possibly picking up items of importance like Summer and the teddy bear or the rock smasher walker. Not only that, but the walkers could and should have more human features as opposed to the walkers we see in the later seasons (who have now been decaying for over 2 years).
6. The Outbreak
Another thing to consider when it comes to the virus is the outbreak. How is it that in 3 months in the Atlanta area, the populace is overrun with the walking dead? Not just that, but the complete lack of resources (electricity, running water, communication, etc.) have all failed in such a short amount of time. What happened to cause such a disaster despite the response from military and government personnel?
7. Humane Walker Theory
In connection to my "humane walker" theory, maybe the more freshly reanimated walkers resemble their non-dead counterparts so well that the walkers can attack with less resistance. I assume that newly turned walkers don't have that rotted smell of death emanating from from them just yet. On top of that, their skin is much less decomposed, not as leathery and dried out, and probably is not hanging off their bodies unless they were torn into. With more human-looking walkers, combined with the lack of knowledge of this new threat, it could definitely lead to a severe amount of casualties.
8. Eradication Theory
Going off of the idea of not fully understanding the problem, another possible reason for the outbreak could have been self induced by humans: mass genocide. It seems like a long shot, but follow me on this one. The group at the rock quarry was all trying to get into Atlanta because they thought it would be the most likely place to be rescued. Imagine that train of thought across the country, people flooding to major cities (which already have an extremely dense population). The more people, the more potential victims, and more potential victims means the more potential walkers. We saw what happened in The Avengers with the Chitauri invasion: the city was overrun with no signs of progress, let's bomb the place!
That could be the same ideology implemented in TWD: gas bomb the cities to rid the world of the problems; only to later find out that once you die, you turn, causing a massive shift in the walker to human ratio. Granted this idea is flawed (for example how did the Grady Memorial people survive in this scenario). But let's say the government and military did a sweep section/borough at a time, eventually being trapped and overrun by walkers. And with this battle strategy being implemented across the county, it would mean a lot of problems for the human race.
9. Easter Eggs
It is pretty well known that the producers of TWD (and many other shows) throw in Easter eggs within certain scenes for a number of reason: to pay homage to other shows or movies, create symbolism for some deeper meaning, or just for the entertainment of viewers who love finding things within the episodes. For instance, the links to Breaking Bad (told you I'll come back to this).
Whether these similarities are meant to connect the two series or if it is simply an Easter egg for the sake of having it isn't entirely clear. But the main thing that I would like to see in Fear The Walking Dead are Easter eggs to The Walking Dead.
This can be done in different ways: characters, items that are symbolic or deeply connected to TWD characters, mentioning a name, event, or a place that was previously mentioned in the other show or even the comic. Despite the Fear The Walking Dead story line being disconnected from the comics, it would still make sense to have some tie in to the source that started this huge craze.
One of the big rumors that has been circulating has been the possible emergence of TWD characters. Two characters that could appear could be that of Dr. Edwin Jenner and his wife, Candace. In Season 1, we meet Edwin and witness a video of his wife going through the change from alive, to deceased, to reanimated. But as Edwin states, she practically ran the CDC and was the true brains of the project. With that in mind, it would honestly make sense if we see a group of doctors come in from the CDC to research the current pandemic that is making it's way through not just the country but the world!
Fear The Walking Dead has a lot of potential to be another AMC hit. The fact that the show has already been picked up for a second season definitely shows that it has something really special to offer. Having the same executive producers running the show will definitely help give the die hard fans of TWD the epic spin-off companion series we've been looking for and new viewers something to get hooked on from the beginning. What will really happen in the show still has to be determined. But I know once this summer rolls around, I'll be chomping at the bit to check out Fear The Walking Dead.
Sources: AMC, Moviepilot, Walking Dead Wikia, Wikipedia, IMDB, tv.com, youtube