“The Walking Dead” creator had a different plan: Zombie franchise breaks the main rule of the source material

The future of “The Walking Dead” universe forces the creators to bypass a unique aspect of the comics.

For a long time, the origin of the zombie virus that transformed the world of Rick Grimes, Maggie Rhee, and others into a post-apocalyptic nightmare was a secret. And if it were up to comic author and “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, it should always remain that way. However, to breathe fresh air into the spin-offs of the main series, the mystery has already been hinted at and may even be completely resolved in the future.

Over eleven seasons, “The Walking Dead” has immersed us in a dystopian setting where the dead come to life, threatening the existence of humanity. The horror-drama series is based on Robert Kirkman’s comic series, and he deliberately chose not to reveal the origin of the zombie virus, believing that it added to the story’s intrigue and fascination (via ScreenRant).

The beginning of the end: Spin-offs reveal the origin of the zombie virus The series adaptation gained such popularity that spin-offs were introduced into the franchise. While “The Walking Dead,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Tales of the Walking Dead,” and “The Walking Dead: Dead City” followed Kirkman’s cardinal rule and treated the zombie virus as a mystery for 20 years, the post-credit scene of “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” provided the first hints about its origin.

According to this, the source of the undead monsters is in France, but we don’t learn more about it. Therefore, the hope of many fans rested on the spin-off “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” because the titular hero (Norman Reedus) is involuntarily sent to that country. Although the spin-off will premiere on December 8, 2023, on MagentaTV in Germany, we can reveal in advance that the story of the iconic survivor raises more questions than it answers. While the series hints at ominous experiments, it does not go into detail.

This could, of course, change in “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” Season 2, but before the sequel is seen, it’s time for “The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.” The spin-off is expected to be released in 2024 and focuses on the reunion of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his partner Michonne (Danai Gurira). The twist: Rick has been a prisoner of the Civic Republic Military (CRM) for some time, which, as we know from “The Walking Dead: World Beyond,” is intertwined with the activities of French scientists.

Why does “The Walking Dead” have to break Kirkman’s rule? As captivating as Robert Kirkman’s comics may be, the story is inherently limited, with the last and 193rd issue of “The Walking Dead” from his pen being released in 2019. While another comic titled “The Walking Dead: The Stranger – The Alien” was released in 2020, it is by Brian K. Vaughan. The TV franchise has simply outgrown the source material.

To maintain quality and suspense, it is inevitable to introduce new aspects, and that includes the reason for the existence of zombies. Although Kirkman emphasized that solving the mystery would make the series boring, after 20 years of silence, it turns the opposite way: Why should the audience continue to hold onto the franchise if the biggest secret is never revealed?

Warning: Spoilers for “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” follow.

The main mystery is slowly but surely being brought to light – laying the groundwork for something new: We have known for a while that the origin lies in France. Through “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon,” we also learn that French scientists are importing test subjects from the USA (and presumably the whole world) for further experiments.

Furthermore, the finale of the first season of “Daryl Dixon” reveals that the “Pouvoir Des Vivants” movement is not interested in discovering a cure – quite the opposite: The biters are supposed to be transformed into even more dangerous monsters. What is the meaning behind this? Was the creation of the zombie virus planned from the beginning for combat purposes? What went wrong? And why do apparently only French scientists research this? After all, other virologists should be interested in finding a cure. While Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) assumed there was no salvation, his colleagues are unlikely to settle for that.

Daryl Dixon proves: Rules are meant to be broken The next months (and perhaps years) will likely provide us with answers. Which series will deliver the final solution remains to be seen. It would be fitting if the ultimate resolution comes with the Daryl Dixon spin-off. After all, the character was never part of the comics but quickly established himself as a fan favorite. This early success in deviating from the source material demonstrated that an adaptation can be successful and engaging even when departing from the original.

If you want to revisit the series yourself, you can stream the main series “The Walking Dead” on Disney+, Netflix, or Amazon Prime Video. However, the spin-offs “Fear the Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” are available exclusively on Prime Video. To watch “Tales of the Walking Dead” and “The Walking Dead: Dead City” (as well as soon “The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon” and “The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live”), you’ll need a subscription to MagentaTV.

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