12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
With 'The Walking Dead' Comics Now in the Books, What's Next for Robert Kirkman?
It's the end of an era.
Following a 16-year run, Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic book series has ended with this week's issue. The shocking end — Kirkman and his Image-based Skybound banner solicited orders for additional issues in a bid to keep the ending a surprise — brings to a close the source of what has become a multibillion-dollar franchise.
With the satisfying conclusion — the comics jump decades into the future to reveal an adult Carl, married to childhood sweetheart Sophia and with a daughter named Andrea — Kirkman now will be left with a massive hole in his schedule as he turns his attention to other projects. (And likely a well-deserved break.)
Even without The Walking Dead comics to work on, Kirkman's plate remains extremely full. The Skybound head, who wrapped up his Invincible comic in 2018, also has ongoing titles including Die! Die! Die! (co-created alongside The Walking Dead chief creative officer Scott M. Gimple), Oblivion Song and Outcast. The latter comic, which spawned a two-season drama series at Cinemax — will end later this year with issue 48.
On the television side, Kirkman remains involved in all things Walking Dead at AMC. That includes the flagship series (which returns for its 10th season in October), the spinoff Fear the Walking Dead (currently in the midst of its fifth season) and the recently announced third scripted series in the franchise. (The untitled drama will revolve around two young female protagonists and focus on the first generation to come of age in the apocalypse.) What's more, star Andrew Lincoln will topline a series of three stand-alone movies for AMC as Gimple plots even more new entries into the franchise. Kirkman executive produces all three series, as well as post-show Talking Dead.
Meanwhile, Kirkman also is busy prepping an animated take on his comic Invincible, which is set up at Amazon Studios. Kirkman — who is among those suing AMC for profits related to The Walking Dead — exited his longtime home at the basic cable network for a lucrative pact at Amazon Studios in August 2017. With Invincible, Kirkman will reteam with Walking Dead grad Steven Yeun on the eight-episode, hourlong adult-focused animated series.
On the feature side, Kirkman has a first-look deal with Universal Pictures and has a live-action take on Invincible set up for the big screen with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Preacher) attached to write, direct and produce. Kirkman's Skybound will also produce. (Invincible was Kirkman's second-longest running comic behind The Walking Dead.) Kirkman's Oblivion Song comic is also in the works as a feature film at Universal.
Skybound also has a number of other titles in various stages of development for both TV and film. On the TV side, Skybound is teaming with Entertainment One for 5 Year, a drama about the five years before a fatal meteor hits the Earth. A network is not yet attached. The company also optioned the Top Cow comic Eclipse for series development (a network is not yet attached).
So while this is the end of the Walking Dead comics, the franchise — and Kirkman — show no signs of slowing down anytime soon (especially with multiple Walking Dead novels and video game titles).