Live ratings for The Walking Dead may have taken a slight tumble in Season 7, but that isn’t stopping AMC from envisioning decades of story ahead. Creator Robert Kirkman too maintains the endless nature of the comics, though new comments suggest AMC might be gaining on the comics’ lead by the time Season 12 rolls around.

You’re warned of current spoilers from here on out, but the recent mid-Season 7 finale roughly approximated the events of Issue #111, in which Spencer met a poignant end at the blade of Negan. Only seven episodes earlier, Season 7 adapted the landmark 100th issue, in which Glenn met his own fate at the end of Negan’s barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille.

Having published Issue #161 in December 2016, The Walking Dead has fifty some-odd issues leading the comics before AMC’s rendition, though creator Robert Kirkman suggested in the “Letter Hacks” Q&A of December’s issue (h/t ComicBook) that upcoming seasons may expedite their adaptation of the comics. In the process, Kirkman suggested that the AMC series may at least continue through Season 12:

It took us 6 seasons to get to 100 … It won’t take us 6 years to get to 200 and that will take us to season … TWELVE. And we’ll still be ahead of the show at that point.

Granted, The Walking Dead has varied with its speed of comic parallel. The first six-episode season more-or-less reflected six issues spent at the campsite, though Season 2 expanded tenure at Hershel’s farm from about four issues, to thirteen episodes. The series similarly spent far fewer seasons at the prison than the comic did volumes of issues, but it’s of interest to wonder how AMC might change things up in the next few seasons, especially as the books include a time-jump relatively on par with the series’ production spanning seven years.

Either way, The Walking Dead Season 7 will return on February 12 with Rick finally standing up to Negan (at least in secret), so how might the series reflect the comics, or waning ratings by Season 12?

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