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'Tales of the Walking Dead' showrunner teases TWD's anthology 'Experiment'

 When you think of The Walking Dead, you think big ensembles, big action, and of course zombies. lots of zombies. But AMC's new anthology series Tales of the Walking Deadwill feature longtime franchise writer Channing Powell and TWD Universe Head It was co-produced by Honcho Scott of M. Gimple, go in the opposite direction. Tales, instead of spawning new stars, invited well-known actors such as Terry Crews, Olivia Munn, Parker Posey, and Anthony Edwards to create his six films set in the undead apocalypse. tells a completely different story. And they're the kind of episodes not seen in any of the previously aired series.

"The Walking Dead's tone is so specific that we were really excited to get out of it as much as possible," Powell told Decider. “If you really want the traditional Walking Dead content, there are flagship shows,Fear, and other spin-offs in the works.

In fact, except for one episode starring Samantha Morton as "Dee" (the woman who would eventually become Whisperer leader AlphaThe Walking Dead Story avoids known characters from the Walking Dead universe in favor of new characters and new situations.

A premiere episode starring Crewe and Mann will stream early on AMC+ (subsequent episodes will stream a week early on AMC+ starting Sunday), and the series will officially debut on AMC Sunday night. In doing so, we talked to Powell about the structure of the anthology. , the challenge of filming an entirely new setting, and whether or not this is really a six-shot story:

Decider: The broadest possible question, where did this idea begin? This wasn't the first time TWD produced a one-shot or anthology-style narrative, but it was usually his series for the web rather than a full-blown TV show.

Channing Powell: This idea originated with Scott Gimple. I think he felt that there were so many places he could end up in the world. In a series, you're limited to production and characters, and you have a serialized story that has to be told, from which you can't really bridge. too often. We also have IPs that we want to respect, so we were experimenting with stories that were already set. Outside of DC, outside of Atlanta, outside the places we want to tell, outside Time His Zone, even outside the genre, there are so many stories that we've wanted to expand our horizons. And I think he felt like there were a lot of stories he could tell about certain characters within the show... in different parts of the country.

It's a whole different kind of thing thanTales From The CryptandAmerican Horror Storyrules are ridiculous from episode to episode. This is a fairly established world. Given these limitations, what are the rules for what individual stories can and cannot address?

Interesting. The rules of the universe are rather finite. But we have to adhere to the Walker apocalypse happening at the flagship show. So that rule was created in the comics by Robert Kirkman and enforced by Scott Gimple. Every episode of Tales adheres to Walker's Apocalypse rules. This is actually a spin-off of its own and has absolutely nothing to do with the flagship his show or the characters... with what might be a little bonkers. We could mix genres and mix tones a bit. As long as we adhered to the rules of the apocalypse and how walkers worked, we were allowed to experiment beyond that.

Anthony Edwards as Dr. Everett - Tales of the Walking Dead _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC
Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

To avoid spoilers, his first four episodes Watch and take a very big swing. What was important to you as a showrunner in terms of driving the franchise - textually, thematically, emotionally?

I have written for The Walking Dead and Fear for a long time, so I am interested in seeing other parts of life. did. Another slice of tone. The Walking Dead has a very specific tone, so I was really excited to get out of it as much as possible. If you really want traditional Walking Dead content, there are flagship shows,Fear, and other spin-offs in the works. So with the anthology, I loved taking risks. I loved going outside of what people might have expected from The Walking Dead to show the world and show Walker's apocalypse in as different a way as possible.

Every episode features a famous did you catch them all? Was it a cascading effect in that one name signed on and it convinced several others? Did it happen in chunks of sorts.

I remember his second episode in particular. I was very interested. i love comedy I love dark comedy. I was very curious how a character like Parker Posey would fit into this world. So I remember being very specific about that. She was in my mind for that role. We started there and also looked at who's fans of the franchise and who's really interested in [the show] once that happens. If they couldn't commit to a full series, do a one-off and that's how we got to Terry Crews, Olivia Munn, Jillian Bell, and Anthony Edwards. I really didn't think I could catch the people I got. We took risks there too and it paid off.

Bringing in people like Terry Crews, they have very specific personalities or mentioned Parker Posey. So, we were writing the episode how far back and forth it was in terms of the structure of the episode, bringing in these stars and tailoring them for them at least a little bit.

There were many. There was a full deli menu of episode ideas, and many tweaks to how we wanted the show to go, how far we could go outside the bounds of the world, and how we could keep up with tradition. Ultimately, we decided to mix both because we didn't want to alienate the old fans, but we also wanted to bring in new fans and show people a completely different side ofThe Walking Dead.We ended up with three that were a little more traditional and three that were a little more trendy. And once those were honed... Once we decided what those six episodes would be, we had an ideal cast list in mind. It's kind of like the premier episode of him and we were casting Joe and Terry I don't know if you really think that Cruise is a typical apocalypse prepper but I I found it amusing and insisted that he do so. he was very excited He's a franchise fan. bless him

Terry Crews as Joe, Olivia Munn as Evie - Tales of the Walking Dead _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC
Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

So how do you structure your season? mosquito. In a way, I feel like I'm trying to make an album or a mixtape, so there's flow and structure.

It was fun. So, like I said, we decided on 3 more traditional and 3 with a little more. Especially if you're used to watchingThe Walking Deadas-is. Ultimately, we wanted to mix both, but with Air Order we tried to keep it a little more traditional, a little more flashy, a little more traditional, a little more…. It was funny and unique in a way, but you can wait for the next episode if you gravitate toward what's out there a little more. If you gravitate toward something a little more typical of The Walking Dead, you can wait for the next episode. You can always watch the next episode.

To avoid spoilers again, alpha happens in the third episode of his... "Here's a character with a name, so I'll give you a new character." Did you talk?

It never really [started]... we said it was the finale, but some episodes actually ended up being a little bit off. So they didn't have to wait too long to see their loved ones as they are a mid-season touchstone for fans of The Walking Dead.

How much of these episodes look to the future, i.e., rather than leaving everything on the table from episode to episode, assuming of course that they survive, to these characters It means that we may meet again.

Well, character death didn't close the door in any episode. (Laughs) We tried to create characters that we really loved and wanted to revisit.So in my opinion there are no dead stories for them.

Parker Posey as Blair - Tales of the Walking Dead _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC
Photo: Curtis Bonds Baker/AMC

Tales is A different Walking Dead has Alexandria, Hilltop. A new set every week. So what were the challenges there in terms of putting this together from a production perspective?

This was actually the biggest challenge we faced, because building a new set each time is expensive. There is nothing in this world that we can use. We had to build everything up as we went along. Atlanta, GA has an amazing crew. They're used to being able to move at the speed ofThe Walking Dead, so at least they were able to pre-load their knowledge of working in Walker's Apocalypse. So at least the basic knowledge was included. But having to build a different set basically every 10 days turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

Here are some pairs in the first batch of episodes. Pairing between characters. What were you particularly interested in about it? The

franchise felt natural. It was difficult to do an ensemble because it would be expensive to make a set or do something new every week. Every episode was too extravagant to make it big. And because of the timing and the length of the episodes, we really wanted to focus on those characters' stories, make them fall in love with them, give them a beginning, a middle and an end. If only I had done a little more ensemble work... I tried some theoretically and narratively, but I felt like I wasn't giving them enough time to let them shine. Get to know those characters too.

Do we see any of these strings connected in some way, or are these really six isolated stories?

Six independent stories. I don't rule out that they'll come together in some way in the future, but at this point, I was going to be on board with the feeling of six different pilots. Connecting them all is Walker's Apocalypse.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Tales of the Walking Dead will premiere on Sunday, August 14th on AMC at 9/8c. The premiere is streaming early now on AMC+, and new episodes after that will premiere on AMC+ a week early on Sunday.