"Morning, Los Angeles — hope you got your flu shot," says a DJ in a promo for the upcoming Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead. "Reports in five states that a strange virus is going around — so if you're not feeling well, go home, take care of yourself." It's a creepy teaser because we already know the end result: the zombie apocalypse.
AMC premiered the trailer during Sunday night's Season Five finale episode of The Walking Dead. Though the clip runs a scant 15 seconds, it confirms two key plot details: the location (Los Angeles) and the initial timeline (the onset of The Walking Dead's critical outbreak). The six-episode first season is expected to premiere in late summer 2015, leading up to the sixth season of The Walking Dead – and the spin-off has already been green-lit for a second season in 2016.
Though the series is set in the same universe as its zombie-focused sister-show, it will focus on four entirely new main characters: Sean Cabrera (Cliff Curtis), a divorced teacher; Nancy Tomkins (Kim Dickens), a guidance counselor; and her two children, Ashley (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and drug-addled Nick (Frank Dillane).
Filming for the pilot began earlier this year and wrapped on February 6th. The episode was directed by Adam Davidson from a script by Robert Kirkman – co-writer of the Walking Dead comics – and showrunner Dave Erickson (Sons of Anarchy, Low Winter Sun). The show is executive produced by Kirkman, Erickson, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alpert.
"We feel empowered by this two-season commitment, a serious show of faith from our network partner AMC," Kirkman said in a statement earlier this month. "I personally take it as a sign that they believe, like we do, that we've accomplished our goal of developing something original that can pay tribute to the original show and expand the world I created while at the same time having something new to say with this story. I'm very grateful that we now have the opportunity to tell this amazing story and show the fans that we really haven't scratched the surface yet when it comes to The Walking Dead."