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The Walking Dead spinoff series will begin as a prequel

The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman was in attendance at the South by Southwest festival over the weekend, and while taking questions during a panel titled “Creative Activism,” he offered up a few more details about the upcoming, still-untitled The Walking Dead spinoff series and how it will connect (if at all) with the original hit series on AMC.

“From the beginning of the show one thing we’ve heard is, ‘What’s going on over here or there?’ So the intent of the new show is to expand that world and show another corner of the United States and what’s happening there,” said Kirkman (via EW) of the premise of the series.

“The timeline is taking place a little bit earlier than the original show,” he explained. “Rick Grimes woke up from a coma and was like, ‘Oh, man, zombies, weird!’ We’re going to possibly see that unfold a little more in the other show. But I wouldn’t call it ‘prequel’ because the entirety of the show is not going take place before [The Walking Dead]. It will eventually form a path running concurrently.”

Related: Check out the first image from The Walking Dead spinoff series

Set to premiere this summer on AMC, the series has already received a two-season order from the network. Its first season will unfold over six one-hour episodes and star Kim Dickens (Gone Girl) and Cliff Curtis (Missing) as guidance counselor and divorced teacher, respectively, who must work together to survive a world suddenly filled with flesh-hungry zombies.

Unlike the original series, which is set primarily in the East Coast and southern states, the new series will be set in Los Angeles.

Asked whether the two series will ever connect, Kirkman emphasized that each series will unfold independently despite existing in the same, shared universe.

“[The new show] is standing on its own,” he said. “You can watch it by itself and get your own experience. But if you are watching both shows there are things like, ‘Oh they discovered this,’ or ‘they discovered that in a different way.’ There are a lot of things about The Walking Dead world these characters have to learn or figure out to get by.”

“And there may be some things that are discovered in the companion show that haven’t been discovered in the other show yet,” he added. “So there could be like a thing where, ‘Oh, they encountered a zombie in season 4 in The Walking Dead that could do this and now we know why that was.’ So we’re going to be doing things like that are going to be pretty cool, but for the most part [the two shows] should be able to stand alone.”