'The Walking Dead' showrunner says the show's new villains were originally part of the plan for season 11

Kirsten Acuna
·3 min read
twd 1017 daryl maggie
There are some dangerous people after Maggie and her group of survivors on the first new episode of "TWD." Eli Ade/AMC
  • Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for "The Walking Dead," season 10, episode 17.

  • The first of six new bonus episodes introduces a new villainous group, the Reapers.

  • Showrunner Angela Kang said changes amid the pandemic moved their introduction up on the series.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The first of six new "The Walking Dead" episodes premiered Sunday and it introduced an unexpected new group of villains.

The Reapers are a particularly violent group, who are pursuing Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her fellow survivors for some yet undisclosed reason.

Showrunner Angela Kang told Insider by phone that wasn't originally what they had in store. When asked if the group was a byproduct of the extended 10th season or if they were moved up from the show's upcoming final season, Kang said "the Reapers were part of our plan for season 11."

"We wound up introducing this element when we were sort of working on the season 10 extension episodes," Kang said. "It gave us a chance to kind of show a piece of story that we were going to skip over."

twd 1017 reaper
A member of the Reapers blows himself to bits on the premiere. Eli Ade/AMC

"It kind of gave us the opportunity to show the first moment that Maggie was laying eyes on Negan and what had happened to her son," she added. "It sort of organically went into the very start of this story."

When Insider spoke with Kang pre-pandemic in February 2020, she had mentioned the team was hard at work on season 11. At the time, there was no indication that the apocalyptic series would culminate next season.

The following month, AMC announced the season 10 finale would be pushed back from its original April 12, 2020 air date. In a statement provided to Insider at the time, AMC said "current events" made it impossible to complete post-production on the season 10 finale at the time.

As the pandemic continued into the summer, the finale was pushed to October 2020, when new seasons of the show usually premiere. Then, AMC unexpectedly made two announcements in September.

twd 1017 daryl maggie
Maggie and Daryl are on the lookout for Reapers on the first of six new "Walking Dead" episodes. Eli Ade/AMC

First, because production on season 11 couldn't get underway as planned, the network announced six additional season 10 episodes, which were "written with producibility in mind" due to the pandemic. Afterwards, AMC decided to end "TWD" with a final, longer 24-episode 11th season. (Seasons typically run for 16 episodes.)

Kang told Entertainment Weekly that some "pieces of story" from season 11 were moved up into these new six episodes as a result.

"There's a lot of it that really, we kind of did specifically for these episodes, so that we could kind of save what we had planned for a lot of season 11 as is," said Kang. "And then there's things like 'Here's Negan' that fell somewhere in between."

"Here's Negan" is the title of the upcoming sixth and final new episode of "TWD" airing this spring. The adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name is expected to tell part of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) backstory and introduce his wife, Lucille (Hilarie Burton).

Despite the story shift, Kang told Insider last October that the final season will feel like we're getting a season 11 and a season 12 of the show.

"It's been decided to make it a super-sized season," added Kang. "It runs as if it's two seasons of a show."

You can read descriptions of each of the six bonus episodes here. You can follow along with our "TWD" coverage here and read our spoiler-free review of the first new episode here.

Read the original article on Insider