The promotional materials for the second half of The Walking Dead's sixth season have been advertising a larger world, but The Hollywood Reporter sat down with showrunner Scott M. Gimple and executive producer Robert Kirkman to find out exactly what that means. Gimple said:
The second half, we answer the question: What do they do with that power? What is their responsibility? How can they create a future? What does that look like? You see the billboards and ads about this this larger world … they are going to find that the world wasn't exactly what they thought it was in every way — in very practical ways and even in philosophical ways — and how are they going to handle that.
Kirkman went on to say that the upcoming midseason premiere will be "a very big turning point in the series," ushering "new elements" and "a lot of big changes." He has maintained that The Walking Dead is a very optimistic show and says that "after the midseason premiere, that's a little more clear."
Director and make-up effects supervisor Greg Nicotero also chimed in, saying:
We're now coming upon a group of people who are formidable [Negan and the Saviors] and somebody that Rick is not going to be able to take care of as easily as he did with the people at Grady Memorial, Terminus or the Governor's group. This is a whole other animal and we're taking the show in a whole other direction. The finale is the 15th episode I've directed and every episode is a different set of challenges and I love [the midseason premiere] but the finale is the best work I've done on the show.
A lot of shows promise big things in their future in order to keep their ratings high, but The Walking Dead is particularly fearless when it comes to shaking things up. I'm excited to see what they can come up with to keep the show fresh.
In the season 6 midseason premiere, entitled "No Way Out":
While trying to escape Alexandria, Rick and his group meet trouble when sudden noise draws walkers towards them with what could be fatal consequences.
The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Sonequa-Martin Green, Michael Cudlitz, Merritt Wever, Xander Berkeley, and Tom Payne, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alicia Witt, and Xander Berkeley appearing before the end of the season.
The mid-season premiere, which shepherds in an era of "much more Daryl Dixon," premieres on AMC on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2016. The show is also set to return for a seventh season.