When Dave Erickson, executive producer of Fear the Walking Dead, sat down with TV Line last week he gave the two series as much crossover as it appears they’re going to get. In response to where the shows were chronologically he said, “If you marked off the days [in the FTWD storyline], I think right now, by the end of the first half [of Season 2], we’re getting very close to Rick waking up in Georgia.”
So will humanity’s refugees’ cross paths in an upcoming storyline? After all it’s common for stars to make guest appearances on spinoff shows, especially when the new series could use a little boost. The short answer is a simple ‘no’ according to Erickson. Fear the Walking Dead “didn’t come from the comic, so some tectonic plates would have to shift to make [a crossover] happen.”
No doubt The Walking Dead comic creator Robert Kirkman is the Pacific plate – the largest and most influential force – in that analogy. There’s no reason why a crossover would require Rick Grimes and company to completely diverge from the comic and make their way to the west coast. And since FTWD’s story is completely invented there is also no reason why the writers can’t pen the characters into a road trip to the east. The timeline might be difficult, as TWD is several seasons ahead of Fear, but ultimately, if they wanted to they would find a way to weave characters in and out through flashback or surprise appearances. Based on Erickson’s decisive comment though we might assume that decisions were made at a higher level, and that FTWD came with a caveat that the two shows would never entwine. If that’s the case, however, embedding the original show’s title into the spinoff’s is a poor way to foster individuality.
FTWD faced tough criticism in its first season and things haven’t improved much in the first half of season 2. The show is currently on hiatus and returns in August. Following season 1 a slew of media outlets threw out suggestions for improvement which included everything from speeding up the story development to thinning the subplots to adding better characters, or doing more with the existing ones. Forbes highlighted what was perhaps the series’ biggest failing that led to major disappointment for fans: it never delivered on the promise that it would depict the breakdown of society. The zombies showed up, chaos and danger ensued, and the military moved in, end of anarchy. The ratings corresponded with viewer frustration, dropping from 10 million viewers for the pilot to 6 million viewers by episode four. Midway through season 2 about 4.5 million people are still tuning in.
Still, Erickson believes something can be made of the show if viewers can just view it on its own merits: ““I don’t think that’ll [comparison will] ever go away, but they are two separate stories with similar rules taking place in the same universe that was created by Robert [Kirkman] in the comics. There’s room for two shows that have their own tone but are different in terms of characters and locations.”
He added that his hope is that, ultimately, people will stop comparing the shows.