I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say this will be the biggest year in the history of The Walking Dead. I’m not talking about ratings: the venerable franchise has been leaking viewers faster than a well walker spews melty flesh. But both behind, and in front of the scenes, the watchword for Season 9 is change. And The Walking Dead season 9 trailer, which just dropped at San Diego Comic-Con, is just the beginning.
The past two years of the show have focused almost entirely on the war between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). That finished up at the end of Season 8, but with a big cost: the death of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). And the conclusion, which saw Rick saving Negan’s life, put him at odds with Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), who wanted Negan dead.
Season 9 reportedly picks up after a time jump (and there may be more than one). But that’s not the big news… That would be that Lincoln is most likely leaving the series. Though AMC won’t confirm the rumors, creator Robert Kirkman teased that it was “looking like” Grimes was a goner during a Comic-Con interview. He’s been the anchor and star of the series for a decade, and his loss will feel profoundly felt. It also comes with the rumored return of Jon Bernthal as Shane, most likely for a death induced flashback.
And Lincoln confirmed the exit at Comic-Con:
Andrew Lincoln on #TWD fate: "This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes. I love this show, it means everything to me. I promise not to cry – I've done enough crying on screen." #sdcc
— Brian Truitt (@briantruitt) July 20, 2018
That’s not the only change happening in Season 9. Cohan has been cast on an ABC show, Whiskey Cavalier, and will most likely be leaving as well. And behind the scenes, longtime writer Angela Kang has been bumped up to showrunner.
New directions, new cast-members, major shifts… And new enemies, of course. With Negan off the table, that opens up the stage for new enemies, as well. Including Samantha Morton as the villainous Alpha. In case you’re not familiar with Alpha, she leads The Whisperers, a group that wears zombie skin in order to blend in. After Negan, she’s the biggest bad Walking Dead has got.
As usual, The Walking Dead Season 9 trailer is short on details and big on declarations. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get some tantalizing glimpses at the end of Rick Grimes.
The show returns to AMC on Sunday, October 7.
Watch the The Walking Dead Season 9 trailer here:
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