There's no doubt the next season of The Walking Dead will spark a major change in direction following the departure of lead star Andrew Lincoln, and the fact that there will be a significant time jump in the narrative to follow the comics. Talking through the changes, Norman Reedus and new showrunner Angela Kang have revealed how adding more female energy to the cast and crew is set to breathe new life into the zombie-apocalypse franchise.
"Not only is Angela now in charge and killing it but we have a bunch of new writers, a bunch of new actors, a bunch of new directors, and they’re all women," Reedus told Deadline during an interview at New York Comic Con on Saturday. Adding that it feels "like a new show," Reedus said fans can expect the tone of Season 9 to feel like "a really honest, heartfelt Western that’s scary, and the threats are different."
Kang said that due to the forward time-shift, with humans trying to rebuild civilization among the undead, the series will have a more "medieval" and "Western" feel to it. Kang explained: "Those are some of the visual inspirations that we took, it's like it's as if the Industrial Age is gone."
Kang also commented about how Season 9 explores deeper relationships between the female characters, including Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carol (Melissa McBride) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). "The women have really had a great time playing with each other as well as the incredible men that we have in the ensemble too," she said.
Meanwhile, Reedus added that previously he'd felt the show had become very male-driven, and now with the new direction it’s taking, things are set to get more terrifying but in a different way. "You end up with two main characters sort of chest bumping saying I’m going to kill you," he said explaining the previous tone of the show. "Women don't really chest-bump, what I found out, and if they say they’re going to kill you, you should probably f***ing hide."
One of those women that the characters will be running and hiding from is Season 9's new big bad, Alpha, played by Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton. Alpha is the leader of the Whisperers, a sinister team that blend in with the walkers by covering themselves in human flesh and speaking only very quietly to each other (for maximum creepy effect.)
Clearly excited by this new batch of baddies, Kang remarked that they have made her realize there are still lots more stories to tell... so long live The Walking Dead!
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