It's the beginning of the end for AMC's "The Walking Dead," and for zombie fans galore, it's been a wild ride. The 11th and final season of the show premieres this weekend and will stretch into late 2022. Since the show's debut in late 2010, the post-apocalyptic zombie TV series has experienced massive social followings like no other, and has spun off into additional shows that include "Talking Dead," "Fear the Walking Dead, and "Walking Dead: World Beyond." And "The Walking Dead" universe continues to expand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular online video game Fortnite brought in new characters that included protagonists from "The Walking Dead," and more crossovers are in the works. Needless to say, "The Walking Dead" has become more than a TV series. The show has spun into a cultural phenomenon.
But not many anticipated how much of a hit "The Walking Dead" would turn out to be, and that includes the community where "The Walking Dead" has filmed so many of its scenes over the past decade. In a previous interview, Lee Thomas, the deputy commissioner at the Georgia Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office, told NCTA, "We did not think the zombie apocalypse show was going to be a huge show for us! I think the people who went down there, who went to work with it, certainly didn't think they would still be down there ... "
"The Walking Dead" did wonders for the state of Georgia by contributing towards its economic impact. Moreover, the show helped to revitalize the small town of Senoia and hired locals to work on the crew set. Thanks to the strong relationship that the production built with the community, the show just became part of life there. "While they were filming the businesses would stay open and they would bring people in the back and they would close the front of the restaurants and the stores, so people would pile in those places from the back and watch," said Thomas.
Ahead of the show's San Diego Comic-Con@Home panel, showrunner Angela Kang gave a quick preview of what the series has in store for its loyal viewership: "We've got lots of big, emotional, action-packed stories ... We've got a great sense of scope again for this final season. We're playing with things that are more humorous as well as things that are like, really just scary, for those hardcore horror fans out there. So, it's just all of those things that we love about making the show, which hopefully, the fans will really enjoy too."
The dramatic character development and storylines have kept viewers coming back for more time and time again. But luckily, the incredible journey will continue for the next year and a half as fans prepare themselves to say goodbye to the flesh-eating fiends who have graced their screens over the past 11 years.