10) Transmedia Storytelling: The Walking Dead

Though I don’t know much about “The Walking Dead” (yes I know, I am one of the few people who don’t watch it (but plan to eventually)) I do know that it is a very big franchise that has expanded over multiple media elements. According to Wikipedia, “the Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic horror television series developed by Frank Darabont for AMC that is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Andrew Lincoln plays the show’s lead character, sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma discovering a world overrun by zombies, commonly referred to as “walkers” (The Walking Dead). The show premiered on October 31, 2010 and has recently been renewed for it’s ninth season.

I agree with Vivian as she mentioned that “you wouldn’t typically think of vloggers as having a transmedia franchise.” When searching for a franchise for this blog, I didn’t even think of vlogs but agree that it an interesting franchise. I decided to stick to what I know best (Netflix) and dig deeper into the show that many people talk about. I found that The Walking Dead comic was released in 2003 and has since been adapted into other media platforms, including television, video games, books, webisodes, and board games. According to wikipedia, Transmedia storytelling is “the technique of telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using current digital technologies, not to be confused with traditional cross-platform media franchises, sequels, or adaptations.” However, the walking dead is not simply a series of different adaptations. In “Searching for the Origami Unicorn,” Henry Jenkins mentions that “In the ideal form of transmedia storytelling,  each medium does what it does best – so that a story might be introduced in a film, expanded through television, novels, and comics… Each franchise entry needs to be self-contained and you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy the game, and vice versa” (Jenkins). The Walking Dead depicts it’s story across many transmedia elements, the comic book being the start. 

While the show does not take material directly from the comics, they do show a cross between the worlds where fans can see what has been expanded, stopped, or added from the comics. For example, some of the television characters outlive their comic version, while others that have been killed remain alive. Furthermore, the writers have added characters to the series such as Daryl Dixon, which producer Gale Anne Hurd says “helps to create a new dynamic for the show, and keeps the audience guessing from what had already been established in the comic series.” The series has also created a spin off show entitled “Fear the Walking Dead” which is a companion to the original and also set as a prequel. Another adaptation from the show is “The Talking Dead“, “a live television aftershow in which host Chris Hardwick discusses episodes of the AMC television series “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” with guests.” Both of these additions are apart of the transmedia storytelling as fans will learn more about each series and connect them to each other while still being able to watch each separately. There has also been a release of a video game as well as a novel and the official website.

Across the different platforms, the series uses every mode to engage readers. For example, they use their text to create the story in the linguistic mode and the ominous music to enhance the scenes as the aural mode. Bear McCreary composes “The Walking Dead” score and stated that “the main theme was based on his viewing of production designs for the opening title sequence.” (Wikipedia).

Robert Kirkman, who created the Walking Dead comics, has also written some of the Walking Dead episodes and is a co-creator of the spin-offseries. In addition to his role of overlap, the creatorsmust also collaborate in order to make the stories interact. For example, there is talk of the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead will collaborate in the near future. I suppose I should get to watching then…

word count: 692

work cited:

Jenkins, Henry. Searching for the Origami Unicorn: The Matrix and Transmedia Storytelling . drive.google.com/file/d/1YyRvp3wvhMQ3st0BhpPim6edaTotciCz/view.

“The Walking Dead (TV Series).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Walking_Dead_(TV_series).



About taylorjp 15 Articles
Jordyn Taylor is a Junior Creative Writing and Publishing and Editing double Major from Bangor, Pennsylvania. She is the Head Editor of the Common Reading Internship, the Junior Director of FUSE, and a student ambassador. She is also a lover of murder mysteries, poetry slams, red velvet cupcakes, and anything out of the ordinary. She has found her voice through her writing and loves to showcase that work whenever she can.