The Walking Dead Season 11 is Premiering Sooner Than You Think

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Fans of The Walking Dead tuning in for its highly-anticipated midseason return on Sunday were given some big news by AMC:

The 11th -- and final -- season is set to hit the air in the summer, as opposed to its typical October bow.

No reason was given for the premiere date, but 2020 found the network airing fewer episodes of The Walking Dead than usual due to the pandemic.

Negan and Maggie's Reunion - The Walking Dead

As a result, AMC ordered six bonus episodes that were tacked on to The Walking Dead Season 10.

This means that fans will have fresh episodes of the series until early April. Then, Fear the Walking Dead will return with the final nine episodes of its sixth season.

It's unclear whether AMC will schedule The Walking Dead Season 11 for after Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 wraps, or if The Walking Dead World Beyond will step in and push The Walking Dead to early August.

A Reunion Years in the Making - The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17

Whatever the case, it's good to know that there is a wealth of The Walking Dead-related content on the way after such a strange year.

The series is set to have 24 episodes for its final season -- making it the biggest season to date.

It's possible AMC will air it in three batches, or it could air it in two, like previous seasons, but we'll need to wait to find out what the case will be.

What we do know is that the franchise is not ending. Fear the Walking Dead will continue for a seventh season, Carol and Daryl are getting a spinoff, and three Rick-centric movies are planned.

A Tender Moment - The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17

On top of that, more spinoffs are said to be in development, so it's clear AMC thinks the franchise is a viable option and will keep it around.

The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17 was the Maggie-centric outing fans had been waiting for ever since Lauren Cohan returned.

It also introduced a new group of villains, known as the Reapers.

As we look ahead to next week, we're getting a Carol and Daryl-centric episode, and we'll get a Negan-centric one later in the season.

Kelly and Elijah - The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17

These episodes are telling smaller tales that made it easier to shoot during the pandemic.

The Walking Dead Season 11 is already in production.

What are your thoughts on the earlier than planned premiere?

Hit the comments below.

A Tense Meeting - The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 17

Remember, you can watch The Walking Dead online right here via TV Fanatic.

Catch new episodes Sundays at 9/8c or three days earlier on AMC+.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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The Walking Dead Quotes

You can breathe. You can blink. You can cry. Hell, they're all gonna be doing that.

Negan

Daryl: What is it?
Judith: I can't believe we just left her in a ditch. What if you were lost and no one could find you? Where RJ was or mom?
Daryl: You gonna tell me where this is coming from?
Judith: I just want us to be back together again ... at home. That's all.
Daryl: I radioed your mom, so she knows not to go home, so she's safe. That way she can find us.
Judith: You talked to her?
Daryl: No, but I'm gonna keep trying.
Judith: It doesn't matter. I talked to her after the fire, and I'm worried. Maybe she won't come home.
Daryl: What did she say?
Judith: She went to go help some people she met, who needed her. I didn't want to tell you.
Daryl: Why is that?
Judith: Because maybe you'd leave, too.
Daryl: I won't.
Judith: You promise.
Daryl: I can't.
Judith: Why?
Daryl: Because I can't lie to you. I don't know what's gonna happen. There ain't no one that can tell you they do. There's one thing I know, there's a whole bunch of people back there that would do anything for you. One day, when you're older, they're going to need you to do anything for them. You got a whole lot of family. Nothing can take the place of someone you love being gone. That doesn't mean that everything that follows is going to break your heart.