When Does 'Fear The Walking Dead' Season 3 Return? The Biggest Survivor Factions Are About To Face Off

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With its international setting and political themes, Fear The Walking Dead has distinguished itself from its long-running predecessor. But when it comes to scheduling its season, the spinoff takes its inspiration from the original Walking Dead, bifurcating its season a midseason hiatus. The midseason finale airs on July 9, but when does Fear The Walking Dead Season 3 return?

UPDATE: Chris Hardwick announced on Talking Dead: Fear The Walking Dead after the midseason finale that Season 3 will return on Sept. 10.

EARLIER: While AMC has not announced the show's fall premiere date yet, Fear The Walking Dead typically takes almost exactly three months off in the middle of the season. If the show holds to that three-month hiatus pattern, then Fear The Walking Dead should return in early October. Normally, that would mean that both of AMC's zombie shows would air at the same time, but The Walking Dead  Season 8 "will premiere in late-2017," according to AMC, so Fear could take its place this fall.

It would seem that there's a long wait ahead for Fear The Walking Dead fans after the extra-long two-hour midseason finale. After Travis' death in the Season 3 premiere, Fear The Walking Dead proved it's unafraid to kill off even major characters when the story calls for it, so the increased runtime could mean that other major changes take place. So far, the fearsome doomsday preppin' Otto family — the owners of the ranch where the rest of the Clarks are taking refuge — have appeared to be invincible. With their weapons, resources, and skills, the Ottos are formidable adversaries for the the scrappy group of recent immigrants and Walker, the man who killed Travis, who are attempting to to stand up to the Broke Jaw Ranchers.

Richard Foreman, Jr/AMC

According to Deadline, executive producer Dave Erickson explained that this showdown is meant to complicate the show's moral standings at Fear The Walking Dead's ATX panel this year. "Travis was the moral compass on the show. The reason to do it early was to drive Alicia, Nick and Madison in a very specific way," Erikson said of that surprising death. "The big challenge for Madison and the rest of the family is to really dirty themselves a little bit. There are good people at the ranch and of course there are bad people." He added, "Madison goes pretty dark this season."

According to a trailer for that two-hour finale, the long-missing Ofelia will return before the hiatus as well. Cinemablend theorizes that the trailer makes it look as though Ofelia and Walker have joined forces. After Daniel returned to Fear The Walking Dead, he embarked on a potentially villainous path alongside Strand, and killed Dante and his cronies. So both Salazars could be be more complicated, compromised people in the second half of Season 3.

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Ofelia's return will also reveal what happened after she met Jeremiah in Season 2, but fans will have to wait until after the break to see more. Actor Dayton Callie (who plays Jeremiah), told ComicBook.com, "It's up to her, whatever she is. So, I'm not holding her hostage or anything [...] I kind of vetted her out in the desert and decided she's better off in the desert than back at the camp." Finally, all of these elements are converging on the ranch: the more cynical Clarks and the darker version of Madison, the xenophobic and hateful Ottos, and Walker's faction, which may include Ofelia.

After this showdown, what's left to expect from the rest of the season? More complicated, three-dimensional characters, apparently. "Not to say we’re going to fragment our [Clark] family again by the end of the season, but there’s going to be a tension between them that didn’t exist before, because of the things that they’re going to deal with over the first half of this season," Erickson told TVLine.

Whatever happens in the Fear The Walking Dead midseason finale and however long the hiatus may be, the third season of the series is complicating even its most heroic characters and taking turn for the darker territory