As The Walking Dead wraps up its sixth season, its shows no signs of stopping. The zombie apocalypse drama continues to be one of the most popular shows on television, and there are always new characters and settings to keep the story evolving. Even so, you have to wonder: How much longer can it go?
At WonderCon in Los Angeles this past weekend, current showrunner Scott M. Gimple addressed this question. He was on a TV Guide panel along with fellow showrunners Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers), Paul Scheer (Party Over Here), Ali Adler (Supergirl), Melissa Rosenberg (Jessica Jones) and Craig DiGregorio (Ash vs. Evil Dead).
The conversation started when Lindelof was asked about ending The Leftovers after its third season (and Lost after its sixth). “Coming from the fan perspective, I just want to know how thick the book is before I pick it up,” Lindelof said. “The idea of having to read a book and every time you put it down you don’t know how many chapters are left is not as exciting as knowing ‘Oh my God, I’m nearing the end.’” He then threw it to Gimple by saying “That said, I will literally watch The Walking Dead for another 20 years.”
Gimple added his thoughts. “With The Walking Dead ...the best metric for me, just as a reader of the book, it’s going on and on and I’m enjoying it. Robert [Kirkman] is building in an evolving world and we’re trying to fulfill its story... Robert reinvents that story over and over and we’re following the story’s lead.”
Which is to say, Gimple has no interest in telling us how many chapters are left. In fact, he probably doesn’t even know. A new issue of Kirkman’s comic gets published every month and until that stops—or ratings drop—odds are we’ll still be watching The Walking Dead.