12:15pm PT by Josh Wigler
'The Walking Dead' Heads to China With 'Typhoon' Novel (Exclusive)
As Alexandria and the Whisperers prepare for war, a whole new set of brain-eating drama is about to unfold far away overseas.
Weeks after Andrew Lincoln departed the flagship Walking Dead TV series to headline a trilogy of AMC films, comic publishers Skybound announced a new expansion of the franchise that is bringing the zombie universe to China. The story will be told in the form of The Walking Dead: Typhoon, a Skybound Books novel written by Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao and Time Salvager), centering on a group of survivors banding together against a wave of walkers in the most populous country in the world. Typhoon is one of seven new Skybound novels set to be published through 2020. (Details on the others, below.)
"Our goal at Skybound Books has been to give novelists the same creative platform and freedom to tell engaging genre stories that we already have in place across comics, film, television and games," says Skybound senior vp and editor-in-chief Sean Mackiewicz. "Plus, after 15 years, we're about to answer one of the biggest questions The Walking Dead fans have had since the beginning: what's happening to the rest of the world? That we can expand The Walking Dead universe with talented authors like Wesley Chu will allow walkers to truly become an even greater global phenomenon than ever before!"
While Typhoon marks the Walking Dead franchise's first expansion into Asia, it's not the first time the story has gone overseas. Author Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) and illustrator Marcos Martin (Doctor Strange: The Oath) were once handed the keys to the Walking Dead franchise, telling a one-shot digital comic book story called The Walking Dead: The Alien, set in Martin's home of Barcelona, Spain. The story comes equipped with a twist that ties the international adventure into the life of Rick Grimes. Read the issue over at Panel Syndicate.
With that said, the existence of Typhoon marks a major leap forward as the Walking Dead franchise's chief content officer, Scott M. Gimple, aims to explore new corners of the zombie-infested world across various media platforms. As he recently told The Hollywood Reporter: "Over the next several years, we're going to be doing specials, new series are quite a possibility, high-quality digital content and then some content that defies description at the moment. We're going to dig into the past and see old characters. We're going to introduce new characters and new situations."
"It is the same rules but the environment of the walkers dictates its look," Gimple told THR when asked how his plans compare to franchises like CBS' CSI, which spanned versions of the same show in different cities. "So somewhere across the world, because of the climate, walkers might look very different. But this is still the same world of The Walking Dead. … There is always the possibility of interconnectivity, but we don't just want to tell those stories."
Beyond the China-set Walking Dead: Typhoon, Skybound Books' upcoming slate includes:
• Every Sky a Grave by Jay Posey, described as a high-flying, sci-fi adventure about a planetary assassin armed with the mystical Language of the Universe. Elyth can pass unseen, influence people’s minds and even destroy an entire planet using the Language. But when a new threat emerges, wielding the Language in impossible ways, Elyth faces her most incredible mission yet.
• Instinct by Jason M. Hough, which is set in a small town full of dark secrets and wild conspiracy theories. The lone sheriff struggles to trust her own instincts as she investigates why the people around her are dying in increasingly bizarre ways.
• The Down Days by Ilze Hugo. The South African author’s magical-realist debut follows a woman who must recover a kidnapped child in a city gripped by a deadly laughter epidemic.
• The First Sister Trilogy by Linden Lewis, a debut series described as a sprawling sci-fi epic about a soldier questioning his allegiances, a comfort woman claiming her agency and a nonbinary badass out to save the solar system. These three individuals, from extremely different backgrounds, will have to come together to protect humanity from itself.
Follow THR.com/WalkingDead for more coverage.