Will 'TWD' End The Same Way The Comics Do?

by Amy Roberts

Though fans of The Walking Dead are already more than aware that the end is nigh for at least one (if not more) main characters when the show returns on Oct. 23, all of us also need to come to terms with the fact that someday the show itself will have to end too. But, if you happen to be a fan of both the comic book series which inspired the show and the AMC zombie series which it spawned, then you may be interested to discover that The Walking Dead TV series could have a different ending to the comics. Speaking on AMC's Geeking Out with Kevin Smith, the creator of the original comic series, Robert Kirkman, discussed the end of The Walking Dead and divulged that though he has a plan for ending the comics, he won't be sharing those ideas with the show, stating:

"If the show were to ever end, ever, at any point and the comic was still going, I would have to sit down with Scott and pretend I have no idea how to end it, and then work with him to try and come up with a new ending."

And frankly, his decision makes complete and utter sense. As Kirkman explains during the interview on Geeking Out, he wants for the comics of The Walking Dead to hopefully continue for long after the show may eventually end. And if the series were to reveal his ending before the comics could? Well, that would pretty much suck harder than a walker on a fresh brain, my friends.

Kirkman's passion for believing in the sanctity of artistic freedom is truly something to be admired, and I also think he's completely correct about it. It makes absolutely no sense for the original, source material of a TV show to be in some way artistically compromised to benefit that show. For one thing, the success of a TV series relies on far different variables than a book series does. Sure, the show can take the original concept, setting, story and characters, but ultimately, not every aspect of a book will so easily translate over to the screen. Changes have to be made, and the adaptation process then gives a show it's very own presence outside of the book that inspired it.

But then there's also the fact that, after that adaptation has been done, screenwriters, directors, and actors will likely all want to put their own crucial, creative interpretation on the source material. And as a result, when a story takes that leap from page to screen, it can take on a whole new life.

So it makes absolutely perfect sense to me that a TV show should strive to introduce story lines and characters which might not necessarily fit the exact canon of the books, because that's simply a continuation of the adaptation process. It's taking the source material, and it's re-moulding it into a new shape. Audiences deserve to enjoy a finale — be it in book or TV form — without the heavy weight of an existing portrayal of that finale spoiling it for them. Reinvention can be admirable when it's done well, and it can also keep stories feel fresh and engrossing.

I mean, does any fan really want for a TV show adaptation to follow the events of the books to the letter? If we look at The Walking Dead, for example, would the highly anticipated events of the new season still be as exciting if we knew that the show was just going to execute (no pun intended) the exact same Negan and Lucille story line as in the comic books? Because I highly doubt it.

This is why I applaud Kirkman's decision to keep his own personal Walking Dead ending to himself. Viewers of the TV show won't benefit from seeing the exact same finale as it will be in the comics any more than they would having read the ending before hand and tuned in to see it brought to life.

When it comes to storytelling, the unexpected and the unknown are two of the most alluring details that a creator can tease their audience with. Take the opportunity for that away, and you're not only restraining artistic freedom of the creator but you're also killing off the thrill of the unforeseen. And that's one boring corpse that no audience wants to experience.

Images: AMC Networks; Giphy (2)