What if an episode of The Walking Dead was set on a passenger airliner before civilization had fallen?
That’s basically what AMC is planning in a highly unusual — if not totally unprecedented — new special that’s set during the time period of the hit drama’s companion series, Fear the Walking Dead.
Here’s the plan: EW has exclusively learned AMC is producing a half-hour special that will tell a stand-alone story following a group of passengers facing a walker attack on an airline while in flight. One character who survives that encounter will then join the cast of Fear the Walking Dead in season 2. So, yes: Zombies on a Plane.
Previously, AMC has had stand-alone The Walking Dead online web series, but the network never used such content to introduce a new character before they joined the show. The airline attack story will debut online, and will unfold this in chapters that will air during Walking Dead’s on-air telecasts. In other words: You’re watching The Walking Dead, AMC cuts to commercial break, then you get a chapter in the as-yet-untitled stand-alone airline attack drama.
Beyond that, details are scarce. We assume the flight is headed to Los Angeles, since that’s the setting of Fear (L.A. residents, insert your LAX-is-already-run-by-zombies joke here). Our lingering questions: What’s the stand-alone content called? Who is the new character being introduced and who will play them? (Presumably AMC will be reluctant to release that because that would then reveal which passenger survives.) How many pieces of this interstitial will there be, and across how many Walking Dead episodes will it air?
A plane has been used as a setting for a zombie outbreak before, most memorably during a sequence in the otherwise lackluster World War Z. There was also a 2007 movie called Flight of the Living Dead (which also carried the subtitle Outbreak on a Plane for those who didn’t find Flight of the Living Dead clear enough). It will be intriguing to see how TWD’s team add new twists into that trapped-group premise. Producers of the special content include Dave Erickson and Fear co-executive producer David Weiner.
The Walking Dead returns Oct. 11. Companion series Fear the Walking Dead recently premiered to a record 13.3 million viewers, including three days of DVR playback, making it the biggest series cable debut ever.
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