The Walking Dead was designed as the zombie story that never ends, though surely neither AMC nor comic creator Robert Kirkman will keep it up forever. News even spread from Comic-Con 2017 that the books might finally come to an end, but while Kirkman himself insists it isn’t true, the wheels may already be in motion.

First things first; a number of Kirkman quotes from Comic-Con made the rounds over the weekend, suggesting that the Walking Dead creator had formally decided to end the comic from which the AMC series draws its story. Kirkman fervently denied the reports, clarifying that while he’d thought out an ending for the comic, there were no immediate plans to actually implement it.

Here’s what Kirkman said at his Comic-Con panel (h/t MoviePilot)

I think about two or three years ago, I had a pretty good idea for a definitive ending. I have known that since then and been working towards that, so I know exactly where I’m going and what’s gonna happen when I get there. […]

It’s actually more difficult to write The Walking Dead than it’s ever been because we’ve done a lot of stuff. To be able to top yourself, and keep things fresh, and keep things interesting … It gets harder and harder and harder as you go. Knowing what the end game is and working towards that, makes it a little bit easier.

The comic itself has been churning out new issues since 2003 (now at 169), so it’s understandable Kirkman might have consideration of an end-date. Back in 2016, Kirkman reiterated that he’d had an ending in mind, though he wouldn’t allow the AMC series to reveal any part of it before he’d had a chance, a la Game of Thrones:

I know how I want to end The Walking Dead, the book. But I can’t tell anyone, because I don’t want it on the show before I get it in the comic. So 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 [Gimple] and pretend that I have no idea how to end it and work with him to try and come up with a new ending.

Kirkman has also stated that the AMC series isn’t likely to catch up to the books, though it remains to be seen exactly how many more seasons AMC can support such an expensive drama in its current iteration. If the comics are still going at that point, we could be looking at years before the true Walking Dead finale is revealed.

In the meantime, Season 8 will premiere this October, so check out the trailer below and stay tuned for more on The Walking Dead’s future in TV and print.

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