When you sit down to watch the season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead a month from now, make sure to set aside an extra half-hour or so. According to The Wrap, the first episode of the new season will run nearly 90 minutes, from 9 p.m. to 10:26 p.m. — almost a full third longer than usual for the AMC series.
We also know that the show will open during a time of relative tranquility for the residents of Alexandria as they continue to rebuild their lives and society following their defeat of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors — some of whom are now part of the community, along with the Scavengers and the inhabitants of Hilltop.
But trouble is still brewing — of course it is — in the form of a potential power grab by Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and in the eventual arrival of a new menace known as the Whisperers.
Season 9 is also a game-changer in many ways, as it marks the debut of new showrunner Angela Kang — who replaces Scott Gimple after five seasons — and will feature the exit of star Andrew Lincoln, who has played the show's main character, Rick Grimes, since the very beginning of the series.
There's no question that, whatever you think of The Walking Dead these days, the new season (which will once again consists of two sets of eight episodes each) is going to be a time of significant change for the long-running show, and the jumbo-sized premiere indicates that there's a lot of ground to cover right out of the starting gate.
The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 on AMC.