The Walking Dead cast

New Walking Dead showrunner talks time jump, what’s next for Rick, Maggie and Michonne

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Jul 11, 2018, 12:31 PM EDT

As if there wasn’t enough change already in the air for Season 9 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the long-running hit will also welcome a new showrunner in Angela Kang. So how does she plan to guide a ship thats losing its captain and a few lieutenants when it comes to the core cast?

Kang told The Hollywood Reporter that Season 9 is being billed as a "new era in terms of where our characters are at and the challenges they're facing.” We already know this season will see Lauren Cohan (Maggie) exit the show as a regular within the first arc, and star Andrew Lincoln is also planning his departure (and all this comes after Chandler Riggs left late last season). Those are a lot of stars falling out of the sky, 

She reiterated that Season 9 will feature a significant time jump (so we might just jump right past the rest of Maggie’s pregnancy) and start to focus in on the story of rebuilding civilization itself. Much like the comic, we’ll see a world moving into a new era that’s about building something new, as opposed to just scavenging what’s left behind.

The Walking Dead Carol

“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,” she told THR. “We get to see a world where they're not relying on unstable gas that's hard to find; they are taming horses; they're pulling wagons; they're fashioning more hand weapons so they don't have to rely on bullets as much. That's been really fun. We get to play while staying true to the principles of The Walking Dead that people love.”

As for specific characters, Kang could not confirm sports that Lincoln will be leaving the show this year, but did note that the door looks to be left open for Cohan’s Maggie to return, saying they would “love to have her back,” and they “already have some plans brewing” to that end. The older, wiser Rick we see in the first half of Season 9 will show his “underlying goodness and leadership” in moments of adversity. Kang tied these major exits to cast changes of the past, saying “the world of The Walking Dead moves on with whoever we have at the moment.”

Which is true, but the show has never had to try and run without Rick.

Looking at the A-listers left behind, Kang said the writers have a "meaty arc" mapped out for Danai Gurira’s Michonne. The actress has seen her stock rise considerably on the heels of Black Panther, and Kang said she absolutely remains a series regular for Season 9. Beyond that, though, contract extensions will come into play (which isn’t unusual). 

Season 9 of The Walking Dead returns to AMC in October.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

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