The battle with Negan and the Saviors may be over, but peaceful times don’t last for long in The Walking Dead universe.
Season 9 is giving the show its biggest overhaul in years with Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan already confirming their exits as Rick Grimes and Maggie Greene, a time-jump and Angela Kang taking charge as the show’s first female showrunner.
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Why everyone is talking about The Walking Dead season 9…
The start of a new Walking Dead era
Negan may live, but the All Out War with the Saviors is over.
Season 9 will start with a time-jump for the show and Kang has promised to give the show a “fresh look and feel.”
Speaking to fans, the showrunner said: “We come in on some pretty fun stuff. I'm really focusing a lot on the core character relationships in the show that have kind of been long-lasting, as well as all of our wonderful series regulars."
Kang added: "We're seeing the world start to break down around our characters a bit more. They run into challenges, with things like the infrastructure breaking down around them and things that they used to scavenge being in much shorter supply.
Fans who have been waiting a long time for developments in the Daryl/Carol relationship will finally get a pay-off and new cast members will come to the fore as the show bids farewell to its long-standing lead. While we’re on that topic…
The show’s most emotional exit ever
Andrew Lincoln will leave The Walking Dead during season 9, after over 100 episodes as the show’s lead survivor Rick Grimes.
How Rick will leave remains a tightly kept secret, but even if the door is left ajar for a return, his departure will change the show’s dynamic in seismic fashion.
Speaking about his exit on the Los Angeles red carpet, Kang said: “It’s so emotional for us. We love Andrew so much, but you know, we respect what he needs to do for his family.
“He has given his all to the show. He loves it so deeply. He gave 150% to these episodes to the end.
“You know, obviously we’ll all miss him, but you know, there’s an incredible cast around him, and I think you know, Andy would be the first to tell you. Like oh my God, look at the work that Norman is doing. Melissa. Danai. Like this entire ensemble is doing. He’s been their biggest cheerleader. Because that’s true to who he is.“
Although it may be farewell for Rick and Maggie, fans can console themselves with the news that there are still plenty of familiar faces returning.
Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carol (Melissa McBride), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Aaron (Ross Marquand) are all returning to the dangerous world of The Walking Dead.
Shh! The Whisperers are coming
With Negan’s stranglehold thwarted, the show is still waiting for a big bad new enemy. However, the Comic-Con trailer for season 9 revealed that we won’t have to wait long for something possibly even more terrifying than a barbed wire baseball bat- The Whisperers.
Fans of the comics have eagerly awaited the Whisperers terrifying debut for a while and with Samantha Morton cast as their sadistic leader Alpha, they could end up being the show’s greatest bad guys yet.
One man excited about the arrival of The Whisperers is exec producer and special effects guru Greg Nicotero.
"It's never been this good. And I can tell you now Samantha Morton terrifies me every day. I see her on set as Alpha and she’s chilling. And we - last set the other day, we all went back to the makeup effects trailer, we washed all of the blood off of us. There was a lot of blood that day.
“And we talked about how excited we are for the show. I mean, these are people that have been working on the show for nine years, and they’re like we can’t wait for people to see what’s coming.
“So I’m really, really hopeful that people are going to feel the same way we feel. And when we get into that part of our story, it’s a whole new ballgame, and it’s a freaking great ballgame.”