So, Fear The Walking Dead is a pretty unique show. The 'first' spinoff to the main show, it's now in it's fourth year, and has faced many ups and downs in its lifetime. Getting good reviews generally all throughout its' run, it never really hit home with fans casual and hardcore alike. However, every episode seemed to improve on the last, until Season Three proved to be a pretty much universally loved season, and the first year the main show had been outshone by its' spinoff. But then with Dave Erikson leaving, the show was essentially hijacked, replacing Madison with Morgan, and killing off or ignoring most of the surviving main cast. This was a terrible move, and while I do have hope for season 5, the show is not the same, nor ever will be again. That's not to say season 1-3 are perfect. There's a reason it had a soft reboot. It's that it didn't generate enough viewers at the begining, basically forcing their hand for a marketing gimmick. If we are to remake Fear knowing what we know now, we will aim to make the show fill out it's promise to show the origins of the apocalypse, while also being fast-paced and exciting enough to keep it's audience engaged.
The Walking Dead: Wildfire
So first things first, we're changing the name. Fear The Walking Dead when you think about it, is actually super dumb. First of all it gets rid of the ambiguity in the original show's title, secondly, it establishes a trend in which if they make any new spinoffs in the future, they'd have to be titled [blank] the walking dead, which is rather limited. Instead, giving the name The Walking Dead: [blank] is a lot more open, keeps the walking dead branding, while also giving it a cool and catchy subtitle. After a while, most fans would just call it wildfire.So why this title? Well, it's the name Dr Jenner called the virus, it's the name of a season one episode , it indicated the spreading of something bad. All of these things spell out that this is about the spreading of the zombie virus. Plus, it keeps with the show's aestetic. While the main show has a desaturated look to it, with browns and greys and greens, Fear is a different type of horror, going for a pallete of oranges and reds, with a hot, dusty, sweaty type of horror. It's rarely using nightime as much as the main show, and the saturated colours really pop. Plus, the choice to have a lot of bright blues contrast the oranges was a great choice. Basically taking the colours of the episode Grotesque , and appling it to the whole season.
Here's a colour pallete I made. The red and oranges really hit home that mood, while also showing off the many 'particle effects' the show utilises to create a feeling different to the main show, and something that's rather strange. From top to bottom, a virus growing, Fire, smoke, an LSD visualisation, an X-Ray, film burn. All effects that play with visuals in a way that make Wildfire a more bold and unique show.
PremiseSo we're going to change some things about the begining of the show. As this it going to be 'the spinoff', we want to make sure we basically take things one step further in every way. Consider it the more experimental show. Multiple protagonists, messing with the timeline, unreliable narrators, trippy drug sequences, strange visions. It's a more cerebral show, where things are allowed to get a little crazy. The main show has tried sometimes to be a little different and bold, often to bad responces from fans. If we designed a show that was destined to do this from the begining, I think it would be far more accepted.
Ok, so for the premise of the show, we're moving locations over from Los Angeles to Pheonix Arizona. Pheonix is a word with connections to fire, the location helps show off the hot, sweaty, dusty visual pallete, and it's still close enough to mexicon that we can go south. Plus, I think Los Angeles has conotations of a place where entitled, rich white people are from, and while I'm sure that's not true, for the seven billion of us that don't live in the USA, the conotations of LA, the valley, and Hollywood don't help with the themes, visuals or characters. So Arizona it is.
We're going to swap around some of the characters and their relations to make things a little more dynamic. Characters like Eliza, Chris and Ophelia don't really feel like they are too central to the plot in fear, so I wan't to make sure we keep everyone involved. The familiy is -
- Travis Manawa - We're making a significant change to Travis, by making him a medical researcher at a top branch of the CDC. He's a smart man, and an idealist looking to work on a cure for the disease.
- Madison Clark - Madison is Travis' new wife, and she's a phycologist at a high security prison. She's someone attracted to danger, and determined to fix broken people, something that she was inspired to do because of her ex husband, and now Nick.
- Eliza Salazar - Liza is changed to be the daughter of Daniel and Grizelda, making all the characters related. She's Travis' ex and a fellow nurse, but when he was promoted, she felt infirior to him. Protected from the horrors of the world, she begins to realise she's more like her father than she thought.
- Nick Clark - Basically the same as the OG show.
- Adam Clark - Since Alicia is the new Chris, we're adding someone new for Nick to bounce off of, as I never felt the relationship between Nick and Alicia honestly. So we're inventing Adam, Madison's eldest who was in his teens when their father died. He's since enrolled in the military, and tries hard to keep on the straight and narrow. His and Nick's relationship is fractured and forced, and each consider the other son Madison's favourite. His story in the military tests his loyalties, and shows us the side of the story coming from the government. It's basically like taking the Troy/Jake relationship, and having it from the begining of the show. The Cain and Abel dynamic worked great, so it's going here instead.
- Daniel Salazar - Basically the same as the OG show, but Ophelia is replaced with Eliza.
- Grizelda Salazar - Same as show.
- Alicia Salazar - We're swapping Alicia to the other side of the family so her story has more to do. She's a smart and serious teen who is distant from Travis because of him leaving. She longs to leave her family and its' strange drama, often finding solace in her quick attraction to boys who offer her an escape from this dysfunctional family. She's taking Chris' storyline, but going in a way less annoying direction.
Why is this done? We've made it so the group is literally two families joined in the middle by Travis. It helps esculate the drama, makes sure everyone knows Travis is the protagonist, and directs the plot forward. A lot of characters have a job or occupation that can lead to some exciting plot points, and build up the rising chaos in a natural way.
Season OneSeason One is where things begun. I think to keep Season One entertaining we need to:
- Show the begins of the apocalypse in a satisfying way that doesn't get boring.
- Keep up the action without relying on the zombies too much (at the start at least)
- Show interesting characters, unique moments, and a reason to care for the show
So the general plot starts with everyday life, and ends with the group escaping to the abigail with Strand. It's the bits inbetween that we will change. We're going for 10 episodes instead of 6, so there's a slower story, but we're giving the six POV characters all interesting and wildly different plots to keep us entertained and slowly drip-feed information about the apocalypse. These six plots are:
- Travis - working at the CDC, Travis is one of the first to learn of the virus and the military conspiricy to cover it up. He's determined to begin working on a cure, and also his family dynamics are twisted, when he falls out with Adam over him not revealing what the military are up to, and grows closer to Nick as he was the first to warn the others of the coming doom. He also has to balance the two sides of his family, and join them together, while keeping the peace.
- Madison - Madison is working at the Prison as a psychiatrist, and has interviews with dangerous prisoners. She's obsessed with finding out how they tick, and has strong bonds with all of them. Her closness to evil makes her prepared for this world, and morally out of tune. She barely survives the breakout at the prison, and is left scarred by almost being killed by a prisoner she considered a friend.
- Eliza - Working as a nurse, Eliza begins to experience the virus from the perspective of the sick, injured and ill. Determined to help people, she puts herself in danger as the hospital begins to fall to the dead. She also looks to fix the relationship with her ex-husband Travis, and her daughter Alicia, who is distant since the divorce.
- Nick - Nick is still the first person to encounter the dead, and his life goes from bad to worse when no one believes him. His experiences lead to him owing drug money, and becoming involved with dangerous people. He fleetingly meets Strand, who he'll meet later in the series. He ends up becoming a liability to his family, but also teams up with Travis to encover the truth. Upon Adam's return, the two face a bitter reunion.
- Adam - Serving away in the military at the border, Adam begins to hear about what is going on, and is relocated to the city to begin quietly and discreetly dispose of the infected. His reunion with the family is a mix of emotions, and he has to balance his alligiances as his family begin to distrust his lack of commmunication, and his superiors begin to take him deeper into the conspiricy as more officers are going missing. He eventually takes the group to the military base and lets them in, and also comes to learn of the destructive Operation: Cobalt.
- Alicia - Experiencing the breakdown of society from a school setting, as things begin to crumble, she grows further from her family life. Longing to run away with her boyfriend Matt, she learns loss the hard way when he is bitten. She's forced to tag along with her estranged father, her quiet and intimidating granparents, and her emotional mother.
Daniel and Grizelda we meet later in the series, and neither of them are POV characters, not until season 2, where Daniel becomes one. These six character stories are all completely different looks at society through different eyes, all with different themes and moods. As episodes go by, not only are the steaks raised, by the six seperate stories begin to become more entangled and destoryed into one singular goal.
The group eventually end up escaping with Strand, and meet his crew on the Abigail. In the race to the boat, Travis is bitten, and dies aboard the boat. Distraught, Eliza swears to finish his research on a cure. With the group now 'safe', the one tie that binded them is gone, leaving his two lovers to work together in this world.
Main Deaths: Travis, Grizelda
Season TwoSeason Two is a big old mixed bag. Some would say it dived too deep into the apocalypse too early, while others would stick with the fact that it's simply too slow and boring to compare to the main show. Overrall I think
- The stuff on the abigail is some of the best and most inventive episodes in the show, but the confrontation with 'Connor's Pirates' doesn't bring anything new to the table, other than another antagonistic group and a senario exactly the same as Holly's death from the comics.
- The Celia stuff is a little too similar to the barn at Hershel's farm. Another twisted belief turned violent senario. I think the show should have leaned into Strand's wealth and empire a little harder.
- The second half is good, but nothing new. Travis and Chris is just Rick and Carl in Season Four. The Hotel is generic, and La Colonia is trying to tell us people are immune when we know they are not. It's good because the storytelling is good, but I think we could have got something a little more unique.
So instead we're going to get similar things with the Abigail, but this time with the two families learning to live together after Travis. They will also have to deal with Strand, who is also accompanied by a crew of three. Let's call them Luis, like the guy from the show who serves as Strand's bodyguard, Hector, a teenage Cabin boy, and Mr. White, a well dressed Pilot and Captain. Adding more people onto the boat really adds to the feeling of unwelcomeness the group has, when a bunch of serious men are walking around asserting the fact that strand is the real deal. We still deal with the island, the plane crash, the refugees, the Mexican navy, but eventually the crew make it to Abigail island. It's a private island that is basically utopia, with mantions, grounds, and Strand and Thomas's drug cartel running out of the island. The group are split on the people, being amongst bad company but having a safe place. They also come to odds with the idea of the Abigails' having workers on the island, who are essentially slaves. Eventually Thomas is bitten, and Strand and the group are involved in a fight for the island after Thomas fails to write a will. It all ends with the island coming crashing down, and the group forced to flee. In an act of revenge, Daniel sacrifices himself to burn down the island so no one can have it, and the group escape on the abigail, only for it to be shot down, with the fleeing survivors ending up split up by the sea. Half (Eliza, Adam, Lucy) end up landing in Mexico, while the others (Madison, Nick, Strand, Alicia) at the US border. A quick overview of the POV characters again:
- Madison - Without Travis there is no 'leader' of the group, but Madison begins to find herself speaking for them a lot of the time. She accustomates to the apocalypse quickly, just like her sons, and decides to befriend Strand instead of distructing him, much to the questioning of the group. She will do anything to protect her family, and is the first to overlook the slaves on the island, as she looks to make it their home.
- Eliza - Eliza's hidden feelings for Travis come to the surface after his death, and she is broken by his loss. She vows to finish his research, but isn't smart enough, something that brings her down a lot. She also grows apart from her father after watching him use his tourturing skills. She struggles to relate to him, or find the strength and ruthlessness inside her that the rest of her family seem to possess. She becomes a voice of reason within the group and on the island is an advocate for leaving.
- Nick - Nick begins to find himself begining to finally be successful in the apocalypse. He's a natural survivor. Smart, cunning, he is the first to learn the guts trick, and begins to spend more time covered in blood than clean. To win favour with strand, he does tasks for him, and the two form a mentor/student relationship. As they reach the island, Nick is sent out to retrieve a person from the mainland, and examines his relationship to the dead. It's there he forms a relationship with Luciana. After coming around to the Islands' workers being trapped, he starts the journey to free them after Celia turns on Strand.
- Adam - Adam moruns the loss of his father, and unpacks his trauma about his birthfather with Madison. He tries to bring Nick back from the darker path he's on, but the two struggle to find common ground. He serves a useful member of the crew, fixing the boat, scuba-diving, and negotiating with the Mexican border patrol. However, he finds he's out of touch with his family, as they begin to make morally grey calls, and live at the island. When Nick finally comes around, he, Adam and Daniel come up with a plan to free the slaves.
- Alicia - Alicia is despressed and alone after losing her boyfriend Matt and her father, just after reconsiling with him. She reaches out to her mother, but the two are proving to be so different, that she ends up realising she is closer to Daniel. She follows him closely, while also forming a new relationship with boat worker Hector, albeit in secret. Her attachment to partners proves to be bad again, as he drowns when the boat sinks, and Alicia gets her first kill in revenge.
- Daniel - After being unleashed at the end of season one, Daniel is now a POV character, and everyone is aware of his skills. Without Grizelda, he begins to lose his sanity and see visions of her. His past PTSD begins to affect him, and he becomes extremely untrustworthy and agressive to Strand and Co. He is extra protective of Eliza, who grows further apart from him, and Alicia, who begins to realise she is more like him than she knew. Eventually, Daniel's insanity reaches boiling point, as he reaches his 100th kill, and burns down the island so no one can have it.
Main Deaths: 'Daniel', Celia, Mr.White, Luis, Hector
Season ThreeSeason Three is a lot easier to remake. it's already pretty perfect, but we're going to change a few things to match up with the characters and locations we're already at.
- Eliza, Adam and Lucy end up in Mexico, in a place called La Collonia, a camp on about 100 survivors, lead by a charismatic leader called Dante. He looks to migrate his people North to the US to be safer, while also personally looking to reclaim his family ranch, that was taken over by the US, and now belongs to a family called the Ottos.
- Obviously, Madison, Nick, Alicia and Strand find themselves at said ranch, lead by the Otto family. Jerimiah is the groups' proud leader is a racist prepper who refuses to let anyone pass 'his border'. He is joined by his son Troy, a neglected and damaged man who lives for violence chaos and adrenaline. They are motivated by the death of Jake, Jerimiah's eldest son, who was killed by a Mexican tresspasser a few years prior.
The storyline involves the group dealing with being split, but also trying to preserve their homes from destruction. Both sides have demonised the other in face of the coming conflict, and both go to exteme lengths to prepare for war. When the battle finally comes, friend turns on friend and the group will never be the same again, as Adam is killed by a horde, and when Madison and Eliza come face-to-face in the battle, the truth comes out, and Madison takes the first shot, killing her old friend, and stepping further into darkness.
Also just below the border is Gonzales Dam and the Bazar, two locations of a hub of communities being lead by an organised group called the Proctors. They are amassing power and influence over the border, and after Daniel makes a deal between them and the ranch to get them water, the Proctors take advantage of the coming battle to eliminate both sides and claim their territory. They do just that, as when the dust settles on the batle at the ranch, the proctors arrive to take down both sides. Many lives are lost, Jerimiah dies defending his land in a last stand, and the remaining survivors are forced to head underground in the secret bunker. Both opposing sides find themselves with little survivors left, and all locked underground together, with little hope against an unstoppable force.
Changing the two groups from native americans and americans to americans and mexicans added an extra political spin on the story, with themes of us vs them, racism, caravans, immigration, rights of land, etc etc. while also allowing the series to have two distinct 'sides'.
- Madison - Becoming a leading figure in the ranch very quickly, she is becoming very ruthless, especially after losing Adam. She takes extra care of Nick, and begins to keep Alicia close too. She also forms a strong bond with Troy, who she sees Nick in. When the battle comes, she shows how dark she is willing to go, actively protecting the ranch from the mexicans, and when it turns out Eliza is there, she demands to know where Adam is. When he turns out to be dead, she shoots Eliza dead in anger. Her path to darkness begins.
- Eliza - Without her family and in Mexico, Eliza forges new relationships with Lucy and Adam, and rebuilds her life from the ground-up. Begining broken, she befriends Dante, who inspires hope in her, and assures her strength comes from her care for others. She steps up as the community doctor, and helps the colony embark on their journey. When Troy leads a horde south, Adam is killed protecting her, and she feels guilt and anger towards the ranch. In the coming battle, she finds Madison is there, who says Alicia is safe. As Eliza reveals Adam is dead, they raise guns on eachother, and Eliza's researve proves to be her downfall.
- Nick - Nick is split from Lucy, which darkens his spirit, but upon finding the ranch, he finds a strong rivaly/bond with Troy Otto, a self-destructive dangerous person who represents everything Nick hates in himself, but also everything he ever looked for in a brother. He takes them on a dark path back to the world of drugs, morally wrong actions, and more time spend amongst the dead. He helps lead the horde south that kills Adam, something Madison keeps from her son.
- Adam - Always looking to do the right thing, Adam finds himself among strangers in Mexico, and being both American and in the army, becomes something of a hero in La Colonia. Finally able to do right without having to compromise his character, he teaches the people how to fight, and begins to lead them north, unaware that his family are there. He confides in Eliza he's glad he is freed of his family, and wishes them well, but is glad he didn't turn out like them. Upon leading them north, the group are met by a huge herd, and he is bitten. He lays down his life to save his people, and dies in Eliza's arms.
- Alicia - At the ranch, Alicia becomes more streetsmart, and finds Madison to be the mentor she needs to stay strong. She ends up with a boy at the ranch, but has learned not to become attached, finding strenth in herself. She mourns the death of her mother, not knowing Madison was her killer
- Daniel - The series also includes the 'resurection' of Daniel, who survives the island fire, and believes in visions from god, claiming he is immortal. He escapes against all odds, and ends up in Mexico on the hunt for his daughter and grandaughter. He infiltrates the Gonzales Damn, and becomes a soldier of the proctors, where he frees Strand in exchange for getting to Alicia. Hearing of their troubles, he helps convince the proctors to provide water to the ranch, which ends up helping them in killing Eliza.
Main Deaths: Adam, Eliza, Jerimiah, Jake (Flashback)
Turning PointSo, here's where things are taking a huge change. No, we're not including Morgan, or any crossover character. The two shows will cross over, but not right now. It might be contorversial, but I'm going to be building towards the survivors being the whisperers. I know depending on who you are, you either hate or love this idea, and I know it is hotly debated, but it's what I'm going for. I think there is a number of reasons it makes sense, not only from a story perspective, but from a logistical one too. Yes, the Walking Dead could make a number of spinoffs set over the country, yes they could crossover, eventually forming a 'walking dead universe' as Gimple has been saying for the last few months, but with the main show struggling enough as it is, you have to understand there is only so much TV someone can watch. You only have to look at Marvel Netflix to see what too much TV looks like, and with too many pillars, the whole structure falls. I think this is why Wildfire needs to be a show that 1) has an end goal in mind, to oppose the main show that is designed to essentially last forever 2) present a narrative dramatically different from the main show and 3) Justify a reason for it's own existance. I think the survivors being an origin story for the whisperers makes all of these points, and helps fill in some answers for the most vague villains in the series. Yes, it does remove some of the mystique surrounding them, but we're going to make sure we only go up to the end of the first year of the apocalypse, leaving the other 7 to be filled in by the viewers' imagination. Plus, Alpha and Beta have ended up becoming very weak characters in the story, so they could use all the help they can in selling their danger and their characterisation. This season things are going to become more obvious, but it won't be confirmed until Madison pulls off that mask. Sure, they alternatively could set up a community and form a link between the shows later down the line, but honestly, I don't see the appeal or the benefit. So, whisperers is it. If you don't like it, sorry. Do your own re-write. :D
Season FourSo, Madison, Nick, Alicia, Strand, Luciana, Troy, Dante and a handful of survivors from either side live below in the bunker. Above ground, the Proctors' siege the land, taking out survivors and gathering the rich supplies and recources of the ranch. Daniel finds Eliza and is forced to put her down, and finding out his deal lead to her death, he in devestated. He turns on the proctors, killing them, but is taken down and inprisonned at the dam. Below ground, the two groups are having to get along while the surface is unsafe. (See: 10 Cloverfield Lane) Madison begins to emerge as a more prominant figure amongst the two groups, as Troy is too unstable, and Dante has lost his spirit and charm.
Eventually they emerge from the bunker a united group by proxy, with war with the proctors the goal. The new group begin to amass new supplies, people and weapons as Madison is dubbed El Fénix, (the Pheonix) as she has risen from the ashes anew. Strand begins infiltrating the dam to communicate with Daniel, while the others head into darker territory in their quest for revenge. Eventually, they storm the dam with a herd of walkers they 'steered' and rig it to blow. Nick's crisis of faith end with him sacrificing himself to take down the dam, and give water back to the mexican people.
- Madison - El Fenix, as she is called, Madison begins to rise from the ashes and becomes obsessed with revenge on the proctors. Determined to keep her children safe, she looks to take over the dam, as she sees it a sutible place for a new home. Pushed to darker and darker extremes, her true colours begin to show, and as she becomes closer to Alicia and Troy, Nick clashes with her over how far they will go.
- Nick - Nick has something of a crisis of faith, as he grows darker and worse because of his bond with Troy. But upon Luciana reuniting with him, she shows him how low he's gotten, and leaves him. He's forced to re-evaluate his life and his actions, and begins to try and find the good in him and his family. When Lucy dies, he is forced to realise his family won't change, and in an act of heroism, blows up the dam and himself, bringing back life to Mexico and going out on a high.
- Alicia -
- Daniel -
- Strand -
- Troy - Troy is finally free of his father, and with a family that can give him the support he has always wanted. Yet, he can't let go of his hateful ways, and stuggles to integrate with the mexicans. As Nick tries to become a better person, Troy ends up taking a darker path and following Madison with blind loyalty.
Main Deaths: Nick, Lucy, Dante
Season Five (The Final Season)So, inbetween Seasons Four and Five, the big twist has been revealed on the main show, and it turns out Madison is Alpha! Alongside her is Beta, Troy and a few of the background faces that survived Wildfire S4. In Season Nine there was no sign of Daniel, Alicia, Strand or Diana, leaving their fates unknown in Wildfire. Now we have one final season to fill in the gaps, showing what happened to those characters and how Madison became Alpha. Filling in the fates of the unknown characters is going to be the most fun part, as they could either be dead, have left the group, or be whisperers but simply have not appeared yet (and therefore been saved for the whisperer war). This is that story.
We pick up six months later. The survivors are back in the US as they head north, back home for Alicia and Madison. The last two survivors of their family, their relationship is forced and strained, as both have done terrible things to protect themselves. Madison is the leader of their group of misfits, and wears Proctor John's motorcycle jacket as a trophie. The group are a travelling community, having given up on the idea of a stable home. They have bikes, trucks and water lorries that keep them strong but also mobile.