Showrunner Angela Kang revealed some major details for the ninth season of The Walking Dead. Kang joined host Yvette Nicole Brown, Khary Peyton and Tom Payne on Talking Dead with a preview of what’s to come in season nine.
From SDCC, we learned that Andrew Lincoln is in fact leaving, there is a time jump, new cast members, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) gives birth during the time jump and the Whisperers are coming. Payne revealed that the time jump is a year and a half after All Out War. So what other goodies are in store for us? Keep reading to find out!
Farewell to the Sheriff
We don’t know how Rick Grimes will leave the show. The only hint Kang gave is that he will be given a respectful farewell.
Andrew Lincoln is just one of the loveliest, best human beings you could ever meet. To write his exit on the show, which we knew was coming, I just don’t want to mess it up. I want to do service to this character, his journey, and I have a great responsibility to the fans to write him out in a way that’s worthy of his character. I hope that we accomplished that.
Then that brings up the aftermath. Kang states that there will be a focus on Michonne (Danai Gurira) and how Rick’s exit will affect her. Kang compares Michonne’s journey to Rick’s after he lost Andrea in the comics. “…we will be exploring the different directions Michonne goes, and it may not be the way that you expect.”
Caryl No More
For those of you who held out hope for a Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) romance, I’m sorry to say, it’s not happening. At least not this season. Kang revealed that Carol and King Ezekiel (Peyton) developed a romance during the time jump. “…that doesn’t mean Carol and Daryl don’t have their special time too. There’s lots of good Carol and Daryl stuff this season.” Talking Dead also showed a clip of Daryl making fun of the King and then saying Carol deserves to be happy.
Daryl Steps Up
It’s expected that several of the show’s long time cast will step into leaderships roles after Lincoln’s departure. Daryl is one of those characters. If you recall, Daryl stepped up at the prison when Rick decided to focus on farming, so he has some experience. Kang states that Daryl will start out at the Sanctuary in season nine. “Daryl (will be) a little different and we’ll start out the season with him at The Sanctuary and it kind of rolls from there. There will be something new for Daryl.” Different indeed. The SDCC trailer showed some tension between Daryl and new cast member Zach McGowan who will play a Savior.
At the end of season eight, Daryl made it known to Maggie and Jesus (Payne) that he didn’t particularly agree with Rick’s decision to let Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) live. In a video segment, Reedus says Daryl will be more vocal about things. “He has a mature voice now, which is also a harsh voice. It’s harsh but full of love at the same time.”
Maggie has her baby during the time jump. True to the comics, the baby is named after Maggie’s father Hershel. Baby Hershel becomes Maggie’s motivation for building a better world. So does this mean that she forgives Negan? Cohan stated in a video segment that Maggie is conflicted about Negan. “A big part of her conflict this year is finding peace of mind with allowing Negan to live, and being a good leader, a good mother, and how she’s going to let those two desires co-exist, essentially.”
Maggie emerged as the leader of the Hilltop during the war and their progress is a result of her vision for the future. She is doing what is best for her people and that means she can no longer follow Rick’s lead. “That doesn’t mean that they hate each other, they still love each other and respect each other deeply. But, they have some real differences in philosophies,” Kang added.
New Cast Members
It was announced at SDCC the addition of Magna (Nadia Hilker), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Luke (Dan Fogler), Kelly (Angel Theory) and Yamiko (Eleanor Matsuura). Kang is particularly excited about Ridloff and Theory joining the cast. “The amazing Lauren Ridloff, is a deaf character, which we’ve never had on the show. We thought that would be a really interesting story to tell, and so we have her and her sister Kelly, who is played by Angel Theory. Angel also has hearing loss, so that’s just been a really exciting aspect of the season with these new people…I’m excited for people to see them.”
For those of you who do not read the comics, the Whisperers are a group of survivors that wear walker skin to move freely among the dead and communicate by whispering. Hence, the name, Whisperers. They are led by a woman named Alpha played by new cast member Samantha Morton.
We’ll go into a really great storyline that people are anticipating called The Whisperers, which if you’re a fan of the comic you know exactly what that means. Although the way we do it may not be exactly the way it goes in the comic. We always remix things. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you know, it’s better to learn as you go along.
I’m very interested to see how the season plays out without Rick and Carl Grimes. Carl was an important part of the Whisperers story arc. I can’t really see the writers replacing his part with another character, but they have done it before. And Rick…The Walking Dead is his story. I like the idea of other characters stepping up in to leadership roles and getting more compelling stories, but it’s hard to think of the TWD world without Rick.
There are so many more questions to be answered. I guess we’ll have to wait. The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday October 7.