As The Walking Dead’s shared universe expands, a spinoff time jump makes the prospect of an Avengers-style crossover much more plausible.
Another time jump in the wider The Walking Dead franchise brings AMC’s zombie apocalypse one step closer to a crossover event worthy of the Avengers. Having once dominated cable TV, The Walking Dead season 11 closed the book on its live-action adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic, but for a show experiencing cancelation, the future looks unusually bright. The Walking Dead will continue via a series of spinoff projects beginning in 2023, adding to existing sideshows such as Fear The Walking Dead, which is currently edging toward season 8.
Confirmed as the OG spinoff’s parting shot, Fear The Walking Dead season 8 will also feature a hefty seven-year time jump. This brings the narrative more or less in line with The Walking Dead. Originally a prequel set during the outbreak’s earliest days, Fear The Walking Dead gradually approached the main show’s timeline, even briefly catching up circa Morgan’s arrival in season 4. The Walking Dead then raced ahead, leaving its younger sibling behind, but with a seven-year leap incoming, Fear The Walking Dead season 8 will once again be sneaking into its predecessor’s timeline and playing with its toys. Potentially, this has major implications for AMC’s Walking Dead franchise.
Fear The Walking Dead’s Time Jump Makes A Crossover More Likely
Morgan Jones and Madison Clark teamed up against the enigmatic, child-snatching PADRE in the Fear The Walking Dead season 7 finale, determined to rescue young Mo from the organization’s clutches. This was not a storyline that demanded a seven-year time jump, but AMC has revealed Fear The Walking Dead season 8 will nevertheless pick up with Morgan, Madison, and an older Mo living under PADRE’s tyrannical rule, sick after seven years of misery. Since such timeline hopping was entirely unneeded, one possible conclusion to draw is that moving ahead seven years was a decision not taken for Fear The Walking Dead’s immediate benefit, but for the overall franchise’s benefit.
The Walking Dead is deliberately vague about the specifics of its timeline, but Morgan switched the main series for Fear The Walking Dead shortly before Rick Grimes was abducted by the CRM. Following Rick’s disappearance, The Walking Dead jumped ahead six years. Time has passed in both shows since, but if Fear The Walking Dead season 8 advances by seven years, that would bring it broadly in line with where The Walking Dead season 11 ended. Characters from Fear The Walking Dead can then plausibly be involved in the franchise’s upcoming spinoffs. They can also, however, be involved in any potential future crossover event.
A Walking Dead Crossover Makes Sense
The wild success of Marvel’s MCU both at the movies and on TV has sparked a shared universe frenzy in entertainment, and The Walking Dead is one of many franchises trying their luck at replicating that model. Hence, Daryl Dixon, Maggie & Negan, and Rick & Michonne all get their own spinoffs within the space of a year, in addition to Fear The Walking Dead. The purpose of a shared universe, of course, is to build toward a massive, climactic event where all of those separate threads and characters come together against a seemingly unstoppable villain.
Although AMC has not yet announced The Walking Dead’s answer to The Avengers is in the works, that certainly looks to be the logical destination. For starters, Thanos is already in place. The Civic Republic Military has appeared across the Walking Dead universe and was teased further by the main show’s series finale, in which Rick faced down a CRM helicopter. An enemy quite unlike anything The Walking Dead’s heroes have faced before, the CRM seems too huge an antagonistic force to be defeated by Rick and Michonne alone within the short span of their six-episode spinoff.
The CRM demands a more expansive storyline – the kind that AMC’s canceled Rick Grimes movie trilogy would have offered – and that hints toward crossover potential. Additionally, The Walking Dead’s ending left numerous plot threads open, not all of which the current spinoffs look likely to resolve. Rick reuniting with Michonne will be huge, but the moment he claps eyes on Daryl Dixon carries even more importance. Also, Rick going to war against the CRM without his allies in Alexandria, Hilltop and the Commonwealth lending a hand is difficult to imagine. These are all stories that look destined for a future The Walking Dead crossover.
Fear The Walking Dead Needs A Franchise Crossover
Fear The Walking Dead would also benefit hugely from an Avengers-style crossover event. Morgan Jones departed The Walking Dead under a cloud, and Lennie James’ character has expressed regret over leaving those friends several times during his tenure in Fear The Walking Dead. Morgan’s story will not be complete until he returns to Alexandria and reunites with Carol, sees Lydia continuing the Aikido technique he taught Henry, and reaffirms his lifelong friendship with Rick Grimes. None of those big, necessary moments slot neatly into Fear The Walking Dead season 8 or AMC’s confirmed future spinoffs, meaning a crossover would be hugely important for Morgan.
Mashing The Walking Dead’s various components together like the sausage surprise at Terminus could also bring closure to three Fear The Walking Dead originals. Alicia left Fear The Walking Dead at the end of season 7, just as her mother, Madison, returned. Although Alicia actress Alycia Debnam-Carey is unlikely to appear in season 8, her Fear The Walking Dead journey will not be over until that long-awaited parent-daughter reunification happens. Alicia’s future was left deliberately open-ended, meaning she could partake in a Walking Dead crossover event to finally learn of her mother’s survival.
The Walking Dead Already Teased An Avengers-Style Crossover Event
Although a Walking Dead crossover is mere speculation at present, existing shows have already laid the groundwork – with some teases surprisingly overt. In The Walking Dead season 11, Lance Hornsby alluded toward a connection between the Commonwealth and CRM, but this thread went un-pulled, implying a future project will pick up the slack. Given that the Commonwealth is now part of Alexandria’s alliance, any prior connection to the CRM would immediately draw The Walking Dead’s characters and communities into a conflict. More explicitly, Daryl promised to look for Rick and Michonne before leaving in The Walking Dead’s final episode, clearly signposting a future meeting down the road.
Likewise, The Walking Dead: World Beyond set the stage for its own ongoing involvement in the franchise’s future. Silas joined the CRM as an inside agent, secretly working against the enemy, while his more science-minded friends beavered away on developing a cure for the virus based on fungus. This optimistic, yet unfinished, ending pointed toward The Walking Dead: World Beyond’s characters becoming important later in the timeline, while teases of a “Major General Beale” and the CRM’s secret plan to decimate other large communities promised big stories ahead for The Walking Dead’s future.
Although The Walking Dead is now splintering into separate projects, all signs point toward a future crossover where characters from all corners of the zombie apocalypse join forces against the CRM. With its timeline so far behind as of season 7, Fear The Walking Dead would have struggled to participate in that violent jamboree. Now that Fear The Walking Dead is leaping ahead a whole seven years, however, Morgan and Madison can be confident of taking their places in the post-apocalyptic Avengers lineup – if such a crossover occurs.