The Walking Dead prequel series was extended for an eighth season by AMC on Sunday, with previous leading lady Kim Dickens slated to return as a series regular. Dickens, whose Madison Clark was killed off in season four three years ago, will return triumphantly to the zombie drama in the second half of season seven, which premieres on April 17.
“Kim Dickens’ face would be on Mt. Deadmore if one existed. Madison Clark is a basic figure in The Walking Dead universe – courageous, multifaceted, an everyperson who becomes a warrior and later a force of good,” said Scott M. Gimple, the franchise’s content chief. “Kim Dickens’ raw skill, strength, and brilliance will re-energize TWDU, and we couldn’t be more fortunate to welcome her back.”
Madison’s homecoming was shrouded in secrecy for the time being. The character was last seen in the midseason finale of season four, when she appeared to sacrifice herself to defend her family and friends from a horde of walkers. In an interview with THR at the time of her departure, Dickens stated that she did not choose to leave FTWD; rather, showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, who took over for original series creator Dave Erickson, made the decision. Madison’s death was never depicted on-screen, although Dickens, Chambliss, Goldberg, and Talking Dead presenter Chris Hardwick all verified her death. Nonetheless, Dickens’ comeback to the series she admitted she was “disappointed” to be departing was left open.
As the flagship series prepares to complete its run with the latter half of its 11th and final season in 2022, the renewal for FTWD confirms one area of the Walking Dead universe. Following the conclusion of the original drama, Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride will star in a Carol and Daryl spinoff series on AMC, which will be joined by an episodic anthology called Tales of the Walking Dead. Former TWD showrunner Gimple is in charge of the bigger world, which includes the long-awaited Andrew Lincoln-led feature films. The Walking Dead: World Beyond, which began as a season-long drama but was later recast as a two-season limited series, ended its run on Sunday.