The Walking Dead season 11 will introduce the biggest status quo shift in the show’s history, bringing the massive Commonwealth city-state from the comics to life. Already, trailers have teased parts of this post-apocalyptic city, including a dark subway with ominous messages scribbled on its walls, and there’s plenty more to be revealed if the show follows the comic book source material.
The Commonwealth setting will also usher in quite a few new characters to the show, including military officer Mercer (Michael James Shaw), who commands the faction’s defense forces as well as protects the settlement’s leadership. If the comic book is any indication, Shaw will be front and center as the biggest addition to the cast when the show returns in August.
But Walking Dead fans won’t have to wait that long to get a first look at Shaw portraying Mercer on the show. A photo from the set of season 11 has already leaked online, revealing Shaw in his character’s iconic red armor from the comics. As you can see below, the live-action suit of armor is an incredible recreation of the one in the comics. It’s like Mercer simply jumped off the page!
While the TV series has always done a great job of adapting the looks of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s comic book characters for live action, the work the costume design team has put into bringing Commonwealth soldiers to life has been particularly outstanding. The white-armored Commonwealth troopers first debuted in season 10 episode 16, “A Certain Doom,” before fans got a much closer look at them in episode 20, “Splinter,” which follows Princess (Paola Lazaro) as she learns more about her mysterious captors.
The Commonwealth story arc (issues #175-193) was the end of the line for Kirkman’s zombie book, and the TV series will follow suit, with the 24-episode season 11. But the final season, which will conclude in 2022, will hardly be the end of the Walking Dead franchise on AMC. A Daryl and Carol spinoff will follow the series finale in 2023, while an anthology show will explore other corners of the universe.
Then there’s the Rick Grimes movie, which will mark Andrew Lincoln’s long-awaited return to the zombie universe. According to Lincoln, production on the first of three films starring our beloved hero might finally begin this year.
“We’re very excited about how, at the first available opportunity, we’re going to go into production – there’s talk of it being spring. I can’t wait to get those cowboy boots,” Lincoln told SFX (via Total Film) in April.
The Walking Dead season 11 premieres on Aug. 22 on AMC.