"This show will be very much a new show next year and with a bigger, new narrative," outgoing showrunner Scott Gimple promises.
There's already a lot riding on this next episode of "The Walking Dead," which serves as a finale and a bridge episode between spinoff "Fear the Walking Dead," but now Scott Gimple says its a finale for everything we've seen so far, setting up the next phase of the show.
The outgoing showrunner tells Entertainment Weekly the episode serves as a "conclusion of the first eight seasons."
"This show will be very much a new show next year and with a bigger, new narrative," Gimple said. "It was something I was really excited about getting into even before Season 8. And so there was just a certain weight in the air of the kind of conclusion that we were getting closer to. It was a weird graduation for everybody."
It's statements like these that only add weight to our theory that "The Walking Dead" has been setting itself up for a time jump. Chandler Riggs' surprising death in the mid-season premiere only further served the theory as he'd have a harder time passing for notably older than he is.
Now, Gimple saying that this finale puts a bow on eight years of storytelling makes it sound even more likely the show is looking for a fresh start, as the comic series did after this same storyline. It's also asking a lot of a single episode.
The pivotal episode serves not only as a season finale, but also as the final episode of Gimple's run as showrunner before he moves up to oversee the entire "Walking Dead" empire on AMC. On top of that, it's a farewell of sorts for Morgan (Lennie James) as he shifts over to "Fear the Walking Dead" -- starting a new phase itself -- and hopefully brings a lot of viewers with him.
This one hour of television needs to not just end the war, but also resolve a whole slew of character arcs. "I guess with so many characters reaching the conclusion of the story that we’ve been laying out for them over the past few years in some regards, there’s just a lot going on, and a lot of perspectives that we’re shifting between and some very, very big emotional and philosophical movement between just some unbelievably insane things happening," Gimple said.
Just that sentence alone was positively overwhelming, so we can only imagine what's in store for the season finale of "The Walking Dead" and the season premiere of "Fear the Walking Dead," back-to-back this Sunday stating at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.