Season Nine of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” arrives October 7, with a new showrunner, a new premise, and a new leading cast. Is this the end of the show or just the beginning of a new era? With Angela Kang being promoted to executive producer, she plans to take the show in unseen directions, to draw in old and newer fans alike. Loyal fans have nothing to fear, as Kang plans to enhance the show and bring back what made it great in the first place. The first teaser trailer of season nine aired at the 2018 San Diego Comic-Con, giving glimpses of a more civilization focused world than the survival focus we’ve seen for the past eight seasons.
Expect a major switch up with the leading cast. Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, is set to leave the show mid-season, confirmed at Comic-Con. Lauren Cohan is staring in an upcoming ABC show, so her role as Maggie has an undetermined future. Danai Gurira is not confirmed to be leaving the show as Michonne, but her contract is up for negotiation after season nine. Jon Bernthal is going to be returning to his role as Shane, but perhaps only in a flashback or hallucination sequence. Samantha Morton will be joining the principle cast Alpha—the leader of the Whisperers, who wear walker skin and reside alongside the dead in the comics. Other new characters include a small group of survivors—a Deaf journalist (played by Tony Winner Lauren Ridloff) and her sister/translator (Angel Theory), the leader of the survivors and her girlfriend, and a blacksmith, among others. Callan McAuliffe and Avi Nash, as Alden and Siddiq, are now officially series regulars. Zombies are back in a big way too. A large group of zombies looming in the distance in season eight are posing the first real threat since season six.
The casting is not the only major shakeup—time jumps are going to be added into season nine. These time jumps will show the progression of the real effects of the zombies on the budding civilization and its inhabitants. Society will be a story element of season nine. Personal stories will be moved to the background, for a bigger picture. The challenges faces are different—supplies are shorter, society is broken, and guns and ammo are no longer an option. Photos of the cast looking clean and peaceful have surfaced, perhaps taken during the time jump scenes. Father Gabriel, however, appears to have been blinded in one eye during these new photos. The time jump is a plotline from the comics, so it is no surprise to see it make its way into season nine. The time jump takes place after the All Out War, into a time of peace and flourishment before the Whisperers arrive. It is unclear where the time jump will exist—wasteland or inside the newly rebuilt civilization. This new civilization is either going to be a rebuild of Alexandria or the wasteland of Washington DC seen in posters. We have been given sneak peeks of a bombed-out capitol building and the burned Alexandria church. A 55-foot-tall windmill has been seen built on the set where the Alexandria scenes are shot.
The ninth season of “The Walking Dead” will explore the world beyond Rick’s point of view. The previous eight seasons have been about his experience, but his story has come to conclusion. The world beyond has so much more to tell, though. Season Nine of “The Walking Dead” premieres on Sunday, October 7 at 9/8c on AMC.