AMC’s The Walking Dead franchise has enjoyed a little more press coverage this weekend than it normally enjoys, thanks to the show getting an 11th season (with the return of Lauren Cohan) and its second spin-off getting a proper trailer, but the most exciting announcement about the future of the show might actually end up being the least substantial. This weekend, franchise boss Scott Gimple offered a very small tease about what to expect from the movie spin-offs that will see Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes returning for his own solo adventures, and that tease consisted of one word: “Ninjas.”
Here’s the full quote, courtesy of Deadline, from when Gimple was asked about the movies during the Walking Dead panel at New York Comic Con: “Ninjas. You really got me on this one. We are working on it right now and hope to have some news for you in the next month or two.” Moderator Chris Hardwick (who we’re all just supposed to be okay with now, apparently) then said “news with ninjas,” and that was apparently all that Gimple would offer on the subject until later.
Before we get to later, though, let’s break this down: Michonne has been killing zombies with a sword for years, but proper ninjas are rad as hell and adding them to anything makes it better. Teenage mutant turtles? Ew, gross. A fighting game that’s just about a celebrity punching an extra-dimensional thunder god? Boring. A cartoon and toy line where the bad guys all get cool gimmicks and the good guys are just regular soldiers and football players? Get that shit out of here. Add some ninjas, though, and you’ve got pop culture icons. The Walking Dead has been bleeding viewers for a few years now, but if Rick Grimes met some dudes who wear all black and slaughter zombies with katanas and shuriken and kusarigama? Hell fucking yes.
Unfortunately, Gimple may not have really meant what he said. At some point after literally promising that Rick would be trained in the ways of the master ninja assassins in the Walking Dead movies, Gimple walked it back and said his answer had been “terrible” and that all he meant was that the movies would be going to places “outside of these characters’ imaginations” and “what they know” about the world. So, in other words, he probably didn’t literally mean ninjas. Maybe he’s talking about metaphorical ninjas? Maybe he was just using it in the Insane Clown Posse way, where they just call people ninjas? This news can’t get any more disheartening, so it’s probably that one.