Fans of The Walking Dead were skeptical when it was announced that the show would be getting a spinoff, and that opinion didn’t change when the title was revealed to be Fear the Walking Dead. Sorry, but it’s true! Fortunately, the lame name didn’t translate to a lame show, as it turned out to be a ratings hit with a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse. With the spinoff success already in its fourth season, and a Walking Dead alum making the shift over, Fear the Walking Dead is not only becoming must-see TV, but it’s arguably becoming better than its predecessor.
36. Historically Accurate
Even though the first season of Fear the Walking Dead only took place about five or six years in the past, a few things have changed since then that the producers had to take into account. One of which is the iPhone, as there have been a bunch of new versions released since. So, if viewers look closely, they can see characters using an iPhone 4 in certain scenes, which sinks up with the year the show takes place in.
35. Deep Cut
An early draft of the pilot tied the show in with The Walking Dead by making reference to Dr. Candace Jenner, the deceased wife of Dr. Edwin Jenner, who the group meets at the CDC in the season one finale. However, Robert Kirkman made them take the reference out, as he wanted to steer clear of anything related to that branch of government in the show.
34. Stay on Your Side
Originally, Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead were meant to stay separate from one another, as showrunner Dave Erickson told the media there were no plans in place to have the shows crossover. However, nothing is ever set in stone and planes constantly change, and fans were finally treated to a crossover in season four of Fear TWD.
33. I Salute You
The attention to detail shown by the show’s producers is evident in even the smallest details, like the patches worn on the sleeves of the soldier’s uniforms in season one. They are the exact same ones that would be seen on soldiers in the 40th Infantry Division, which is responsible for California, and would be the team sent to LA if this situation happened in real life.
32. Choose Your Words Wisely
Even though the first season of Fear the Walking Dead takes place while Rick Grimes is in a coma, that doesn’t necessarily make the show a prequel. The creators of the show consider it more of a parallel story or companion piece, and the reason why becomes clear as the show progresses.
31. West Coast
The show may take place in the same universe as The Walking Dead, but the creators made it geographically difficult—but not impossible—for a crossover, as it is set in Los Angeles, California, a long way away from Atlanta, Georgia.
30. A Friend of a Friend of Mine
No characters from Fear the Walking Dead have ever appeared in The Walking Dead comics, but it’s been speculated that one may have been referenced. In issue #175, Lance Hornsby talks about a man he met who covers himself in blood every day. Fans believe he is talking about Nick Clark, who does that constantly on Fear TWD.
29. Spoiler Free Zone
Fans of The Walking Dead comic book series knew what to expect from time to time on the show, as some storylines were pulled from the comics. That’s not the case for Fear the Walking Dead, as even though it’s in the same world, everything is fresh and original, from the plot to the characters.
28. One Persons Dream Is Another’s Nightmare
Kirkman settled on Los Angeles as the location for Fear the Walking Dead because he loved the symbolism the city presented to the story. He sees LA as a hopeful place full of dreamers and people looking for a fresh start, which makes it fun to envision how these people would handle an apocalypse of this nature.
27. Odd Choice
Kim Dickens, who plays former high school guidance counselor Madison, may not have thought things through when she took a role on the show. She admitted she’s a bit squeamish when it comes to horror, which makes her decision to be in a horror TV show an odd one.
26. Copy Cat
Sure, the first time we saw a character cover themselves in zombie guts to go undetected was Rick on The Walking Dead, but since Fear the Walking Dead is happening before the events in TWD, technically, that means Nick was the first one to figure out that the gruesome technique for going undetected works.
25. Pretending It’s Hot When It’s Cold
The pilot was shot in Los Angeles, California—where the show takes place—but then production was moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for the remainder of the season. Production would stay there until season four, when it was moved back to the United States and filmed in Austin, Texas.
24. Worth the Risk
AMC had so much faith in Fear the Walking Dead being as popular as The Walking Dead that they decided to renew the show for a second season before the first season aired, and before it even finished filming! The gamble paid off, as the show went on to break records in its first season.
23. Not Exactly What People Wanted
It took four seasons before viewers got to see a character crossover from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead, but it wasn’t the first time two actors from the shows appeared on screen together. Alycia Debnam-Carey—Alicia Clark on Fear TWD—and Sarah Wayne Callies—Lori Grimes on TWD—both appeared in the 2014 movie Into The Storm.
22. Double or Nothing
The series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead broke records when 10.1 million viewers tuned in to watch the spinoff show, making it the biggest premiere in US cable history. It also nearly doubled the viewership for the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, which was seen by 5.35 million viewers.
21. Staying Strong
The premiere numbers were no fluke either, as the show would go on to break another record in its first season. By averaging 11.2 million viewers for the entirety of its six-episode run, Fear the Walking Dead delivered the most-watched first season of a TV show in cable history.
20. That Was Quick
AMC showed they don’t mess around when they have a hit on their hands and continued the early renewal trend for Fear the Walking Dead. After the season two premiere episode brought in good numbers, AMC announced that the show would be renewed for a third season. And then before the third season even premiered, it was renewed again for a fourth one!
19. Jumping Ship
When a crossover was finally announced, fans speculated who would make the jump from The Walking Dead to Fear the Walking Dead. The frontrunner became Abraham Ford, when it was announced the fourth season would take place in Texas. However, it ended up being Morgan Jones, and it wasn’t a one-off appearance either, as he is set to stay on as a series regular.
18. What Not to Do
Kirkman and Erickson knew they wanted The Walking Dead in the title for the spinoff show, but made sure to avoid the cliché of just putting the location at the end of it, meaning The Walking Dead: Los Angeles was in their minds but never really a contender. They admittedly went through countless different names before landing on Fear the Walking Dead.
17. More Modern Look
Fear the Walking Dead looks and feels different than The Walking Dead in more ways than one. Fear TWD is shot digitally, as opposed to TWD, which still shoots on film.
16. Quite the Introduction
Before season two of Fear the Walking Dead premiered, a web series titled Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462 premiered and aired episodes during commercial breaks for The Walking Dead. The series saw passengers on an airplane having to deal with the outbreak, and culminated with one passenger surviving and joining the cast in season two.
15. Keeping It Close
Early rumors for Fear the Walking Dead suggested that the show was going to be set in rural Pennsylvania, which would have made it a lot closer to Georgia, where the cast of The Walking Dead resides.
14. Running Out of Time
Producers were still undecided on a name for the show once cameras started rolling on the first season. During that time, the show went under the code name Cobalt, until a name was finally chosen.
13. What Came Before
The fact that Fear the Walking Dead is a spinoff of The Walking Dead meant nothing to Frank Dillane when he auditioned for a role in the show. Before being cast as Nick, Dillane had never seen an episode of TWD and admits he still hasn’t to this day.
12. One More Thing to Talk About
Talking Dead, the talk show that discusses The Walking Dead after every episode, added Fear the Walking Dead to its discussion topics on October 4, 2015 after the season one finale.
11. All Good Things Must Come to an End
Fear the Walking Dead lost its showrunner at the end of season three, as co-creator Erickson left the show. Taking over for him are Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, with The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple coming on as an executive producer.
10. Back to the Future
Season four of Fear the Walking Dead saw the show jump ahead in time a few years to match up with The Walking Dead. The first episode of season four takes place not too long after what happened in the season eight finale of TWD. It’s unclear if more crossovers will happen since the shows are basically happening at the same time, but it’s more likely now than ever.
9. Stranger Than Fiction
Erickson claims that he drew inspiration from real life events to help him come up with ideas and shape the show. He paid close attention to all the stories about people on bath salts that acted like zombies, and the Ebola virus scare that he admits could have been similar to what started the outbreak in The Walking Dead universe.
8. Pick a Name
Like most shows, a lot of things changed from the initial script to the finished product, and one detail was the name of various characters. The original last name for the main family was meant to be Tompkins, with Madison Clark going by Nancy Tompkins, Alicia Clark going by Ashley Tompkins, and Nick Clark going by Ian Tompkins.
7. Not Just for Robbing Banks
It turns out, the product that best simulates skin being ripped off of someone’s face is pantyhose. That’s right, to get that stretchy, elastic look of skin being torn off of someone, the show puts pantyhose on the victim’s face. Considering how few people wear pantyhose in 2018, the combination of grandmas and shows like Fear the Walking Dead must be keeping the entire industry afloat.
6. Trolling Fans
Whether intentional or not, Fear the Walking Dead sent fans of The Walking Dead into a frenzy when it appeared that Chandler Riggs—who played Carl Grimes—was spotted in the background of an episode. And to top it off, he appeared to be walking eerily similar to an infected person. After Twitter blew up, it was quickly confirmed that this was merely a Riggs look-a-like.
5. Poor Choice of Words
Since the first season of Fear the Walking Dead occurs before the first season of The Walking Dead, producers thought it was important to refer to anyone with the virus as “infected” and not “walkers” because that term didn’t exist yet. I personally would have used this opportunity to go with “zombie” but that’s just me.
4. Hard to Tell
Since the show begins right at the beginning of the outbreak, the characters are more vulnerable and susceptible to death as they have a harder time distinguishing who is infected. The zombies on this show look a lot fresher, as opposed to The Walking Dead, where the characters know to steer clear of anyone who is rotting or missing half of their face.
3. Trial and Error
Add to that the fact that these characters have no idea how to properly kill the infected people, which lead to a lot of avoidable deaths, as they have to slowly discover only headshots are effective.
2. As Close As It Gets
Kirkman has stated since the beginning of the comic books that he would never reveal what caused the outbreak in The Walking Dead universe, and that promise carried over to Fear the Walking Dead. Even though the series takes place during the initial stages of the outbreak, it will never reveal what caused it, leaving fans to continue to speculate.
1. Open for Discussion
However, that doesn’t mean that the idea was never brought up. Erickson claims he pitched a patient zero storyline for Fear the Walking Dead to Kirkman, but it was immediately shut down, as Kirkman reiterated that that’s not what the show is about.