Fast approaching Season 6, AMC’s The Walking Dead already has its golden years in sight, even if franchise creator Robert Kirkman famously envisions the source material lasting indefinitely. Time is time, and even Kirkman has in mind how The Walking Dead might end, while a new Season 5 deleted scene should get fans a-buzzing for Rick and Michonne in Season 6.

Speaking with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, Kirkman extrapolated The Walking Dead’s inverse of George Romero and typical zombie lore, in that where TWD continues the zombie apocalypse tale far beyond any film, the franchise itself would ultimately end in a place zombie movies never go. It’s tough to discern how long AMC’s The Walking Dead can outpace the comics, but Kirkman says of the ultimate end:

They never solve it. At the end of every movie, they’re like ‘The world is covered in zombies, and we’re out of time, so see ya later! … How do you continue to find food and shelter and protect loved ones for years and years and deal with the fall of civilization? How does that affect you? The weak people get strong, and the strong people get weak, and people become insane.

Still, despite all the bleakness and death permeating the series, Kirkman sees a far more optimistic end than most zombie movies allow:

The goal … I hope The Walking Dead goes on long enough that at the end, everyone is like, ‘Good thing we took care of those zombies!’ … People talk about how The Walking Dead is bleak, and if you take a certain cross-section of the story, then yeah. Horrible. People have their loved ones eaten and they have a horrible time. But I see the story from beginning to end, over many many years about humanity overcoming this insurmountable apocalyptic situation.

So, when might AMC’s flagship adaptation end?

Let’s all be honest. Season 16? I’m not even going to be watching this show. I’ll be on a boat. Oh, [season 17]? I don’t care! I’ve transcended television.

Season 17 is a little far off to imagine, so we’ll return to the established episodes of Season 5, from which a new deleted scene chronicling Rick and Michonne’s adjustment to Alexandria has emerged:

Not enough? Well, Danai Gurira spoke to Entertainment Weekly of persistent speculation the two might lock lips in Season 6:

The Richonne thing—we get it a lot. They’re friends, you know. And people want that. I love that folks want Michonne to get some. I always say that. I say to my boss, ‘Michonne’s a nun. She don’t give none, she don’t get none.’

Thus far of The Walking Dead Season 6, we know that Straight Outta Compton star Corey Hawkins has joined the series in the comic role of Alexandria runner Heath, alongside new additions Ethan Embry and Merrit Wever, while showrunner Scott Gimple teased that Season 6 would fill in certain comic backstory. Apart from the face-off between Rick and Morgan, Season 6 has also released a few photos previewing return characters like Rick and their continued adjustment to life in Alexandria.

Not to mention, in need of a Season 6 trailer breakdown, or to see exactly how grotesque walkers will look by the October 11 premiere? We’ve got you covered! We’ll see more of The Walking Dead Season 6 on the long road to October, but contemplate the inevitable end, and stay tuned for the latest from cast and crew.

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