Earlier this month, Robert Kirkman’s long-running zombie outbreak comic The Walking Dead came to a surprising, fulfilling end. Planned all along, the writer used tricks of the trade to mask the conclusion of his saga, which definitively ended with issue #192. And there was a bit of happiness to the where things left off. The world was ... kind of better.
“It’s a world where people have put through their paces, pushed to their limits, learned who they are as people,” Kirkman said during his 2019 San Diego Comic-Con panel. “It’s put everyone in a different mindset than we operate like we do now [...] People learn to appreciate what they have.”
But is it the end end of The Walking Dead? Though the television series and Fear the Walking Dead set to continue, and a third YA-like series set to film this summer, the brand is very much alive. But for Kirkman, that’s it. While he joked that he saw himself returning to zombie lore in a radically different way in the future — he’s known for the genre after all — The Walking Dead as fans knew it was over.
Asked if Negan, left alive by #192, could potentially return, Kirkman squirmed. He was aware.
“Negan is alive. I think that’s a cool tidbit. He’s still out there, theoretically living in that farmhouse, so there might be a story to be told there.”
While Kirkman emphasized there were no current plans, he curved what sounded like genuine interest in revisiting the character towards cheekier territory.
“It’s possible that that’s my escape hatch’ if my career takes a hard nosedive — I’ll just roll out a Negan comic when I’m 42.” he joked, adding that he has tons of secret projects in the works, and hopes to spring many of them on fans when they least expect it.
Later in the afternoon, an audience member asked Kirkman if he had any regrets over the 16-year course of The Walking Dead.
“I don’t really have regrets. The reason I can do so much work is that I’m always focused on what’s coming next.”
One of those things might be more Negan.