SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched the season 3 finale of Fear the Walking Dead.
The Dave Erickson era is over. The showrunner and co-creator of Fear the Walking Dead is now officially off the show after Sunday night’s season finale, and he was kind enough to answer all of our burning questions about the episode — including the ending, which leaves the fate of pretty much every single character except Kim Dickens’ Madison up in the air… or in the water, as it were.
While season 3 was under Erickson’s creative control, the showrunner says he did have to modify the ending to accommodate the new team of showrunners, Andrew Chambliss and Ian B. Goldberg (as well as overseer Scott M. Gimple), to give them options as to how they may want to proceed. “I think that there was a version of this where if I was going to stay on it might have been a little bit more clearly defined in terms of who survived exactly and who was going to be ready to rally and go to war with Proctor John in season 4,” says Erickson. “But being not entirely certain what the intentions were going to be from Scott’s camp, we chose to leave it a little more open-ended.”
While Chambliss, Goldberg, and Gimple will now chart the course for the show, Erickson — who is going on to develop new projects for Sony and AMC, including a new AMC adaptation of David Cronenberg’s book Consumed — does still have his vision for where he would have liked to have taken the series. He told EW about that vision and what his final scene ever of the show would have been.
“I think the foundation of [my vision] is in that last big scene between Nick and Madison,’ says Erickson of the season 3 finale scene which ultimately led to Nick attempting to sacrifice himself by blowing up the dam so the rest of the family can escape. “Nick calls her out and he basically says essentially, “This world has allowed you to be who you are and if you had no choice, would you kill me?” She denies it. She says there’s no way I would ever hurt you, but he’s asking a question, which, to me, requires an answer. He’s asking a question that I would like to see play out.”
Erickson saw that scene and relationship as the central point of the show moving forward, and one that would require a final answer in the final scene. “In my mind, yeah, there was a reckoning, there was always going to be a final confrontation between mother and son,” says Erickson. “The first thing I re-watched and then reread when I started this job was Heart Of Darkness, Apocalypse Now. Thematically, there’s a lot in Apocalypse that I think resonates for me and I think it’s part of what Fear was meant to be. So whether that comes to pass, I don’t know, but I definitely think you could have looked forward to a final scene — a reckoning between Madison and her children.”
We may never see that final scene now. We may never even see Nick or Alicia (or Strand or Daniel) again depending on what plan the new creative team puts into place. To read more of Erickson looking back on his tenure running the show, as well as a deep dive into his final episodes, check out our finale burning questions Q&A. And for more Fear the Walking Dead intel, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.