First announced last year, the companion series being produced for AMC's incredibly successful "Walking Dead" zombie drama has been given the greenlight for a pilot. 

"There are many corners of 'The Walking Dead' universe that remain unseen in the shadows," Kirkman said in a statement. "Being given the opportunity to shine a light into those corners and see what lurks out there is an absolute thrill."

With ratings for each successive season of "The Walking Dead" soaring ever higher, AMC is smart to introduce another branch of their post-apocalyptic world. Fans should also be relieved to know that the same team heading the original is also behind this new spin-off - with creator Robert Kirkman heading up the writing and Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert on board as executive producers. 

“Almost from the beginning of ‘The Walking Dead’ on AMC, fans have been curious about what is going on in the zombie apocalypse in other parts of the world.  In fact, beyond requests for zombie cameos, it’s the question I get asked the most,” said AMC President Charlie Collier. “Obviously, we all take our stewardship of the original franchise incredibly seriously and we, along with Robert, Gale, David and now Dave, are all proceeding with extreme care in order to ensure that we are offering fans something truly compelling, engaging and distinct.  We’re thrilled to be taking this next step with these remarkable partners.”

While details regarding the new series have been a closely guarded secret, we do know that it will involve a entirely new group of survivors dealing with their own zombie dramas. The series, especially for Kirkman, is a real opportunity to completely invent something new independent of the graphic novels the original closely follows. 

"It’s great to go back to page one and think about it," he said last year. "It’s going to be set in this world, but it is a new cast and a new setting, and it’s going to be very different. It’s just exciting to be able to start over again and try to do cool stuff."

"The Walking Dead's" fifth season kicks off October 12th. Looks for the new as-yet unnamed companion series to begin production later this year and debut in 2015. 

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Walking Dead' companion series heads into production
AMC orders new spin-off to produce a pilot in preparation for a 2015 launch.