Ezekiel actor Khary Payton thinks The Walking Dead‘s final season can be satisfying like Breaking Bad. In September 2020, AMC announced The Walking Dead would end with season 11, which will consist of 24 episodes. At the time, the network revealed that a spinoff centered around Daryl and Carol is also in the works. After a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, season 11 finally premiered on August 22. The season will be split into three groups of episodes, with The Walking Dead series finale airing at some point in 2022.
Now two episodes in, season 11 has thus far provided an exciting start to the show’s conclusion. It’s focused on the dangerous Commonwealth, as well as Maggie’s complicated dynamic with Negan, resulting in a particularly controversial line in The Walking Dead premiere. Expectations are incredibly high for the remainder of season 11, considering TWD is one of the most popular and highly discussed shows currently on air.
Speaking with Insider, Payton, who joined the series in 2016, discussed its final season. He responded to a question about whether The Walking Dead will be able to conclude its storylines in a satisfying way by bringing up beloved, critically-acclaimed drama Breaking Bad, which ended after five seasons in 2013. Payton explained:
I always think about the last season of Breaking Bad. I watched the penultimate episode [of Breaking Bad] and I was just like, ‘There’s no way [they can wrap this up]. I got too many questions. I’m so upset.’ I could not have been more wrong in that moment. I remember just being amazed at what they were able to do in the time they were able to do it. That’s always given me a little bit of confidence [about TWD’s final season].
Even though it’s been several years since Breaking Bad aired its series finale, the episode remains popular with audiences and critics alike to this day. It was lauded for maintaining the show’s tone and bringing Walt’s story to a conclusion that felt both narratively satisfying and appropriate for the character. For this reason, it makes sense Payton is hoping The Walking Dead similarly wraps up storylines in a way that impresses and surprises viewers. For his part, the actor previously revealed he knows how The Walking Dead ends, saying he’s “so excited for it.” This could bode well for the show’s final episodes.
Of course, since The Walking Dead season 11 has only just started airing, it’s hard to say at this point if its series finale will be comparable to Breaking Bad. However, it’s worth noting the shows do have similarities in that they are two of the most well-known dramas of the last 15 years. They also both come from AMC and feature successful spinoffs, showing an ability to effectively extend the main story. Though no guarantee, these similarities could be a positive sign that The Walking Dead‘s series finale will be satisfying in a way reminiscent of Breaking Bad‘s last episode.