After nine years on the air, The Walking Dead was in danger. There are only so many times the survivors can find a new location, watch as a new danger arises, fight the danger and move on.
But in the new season, massive changes to the story are in the works, including the exit of two major characters
In addition to the departure of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), the show also jumps forward two years to show to progression of the characters and the routines they have settled within.
The trailer also introduces of new locations, new characters (including Dan Fogler, Eleanor Matsuura and Lauren Ridloff), a new showrunner (Angela Kang) and a new lease on life given the bold new direction of the show.
The cast met after their massive Hall H panel on Friday to discuss the upcoming changes and the departure of their fearless leader.
“At the end of the panel it sort of hit me, and I got really choked up,” said Lincoln. “It’s been nine years. I love this place and I love the fans. It’s been such an experience. But don’t worry. My relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over.”
“We are super proud of the trailer, we wanted to come out of the gate this year to show that the show has been reinvented,” commented writer Scott Gimple. “We get to see Washington, DC and that great shot of Rick on horseback…For me personally, this is one of the most amazing times for the show in the a long time. We have this new threat. That little bit of a tease..I love that this is where the show is headed.”
While much of the panel footage is new to fans, news of Lincoln’s departure was already old news.
“Obviously I would love to have no to tell anyone and for you guys to just experience it. But because of social media, I was told that the story was already out,” said Lincoln.
Lincoln wanted fans to know that his exit from the AMC horror drama is not a shock to the Brit actor. It was something always on his mind given that his family and roots are located a Pond away.
“I was thinking about it for nine years, because that’s where we live. I suppose it’s a lot to do about a conversation in season four about shape and finding some way to complete something that would never be completed.”
“There was a sense that we were experiencing this world through this one man’s eyes. Now what is exciting for me is that the narrative is going to break up.”
“It feels like the show I thought we would always head toward when wrapped the pilot,” continued Lincoln. “In short, it was something I started to think about when my children were older and less portable.”
Showrunner Angela Kang chatted about finding a new balance with the characters on the show once Lincoln leaves and the importance of maintaining harmony.
“The best way to honor Rick is to stay true and continue to tell a really honest story and not to go from a big bold place out the realm we are trying to connect to,” said Kang. “We need to find those connections through the characters.”
As for season nine, the trailer and the panel have alluded to an upcoming storm between the characters, a fight to the finish that has yet to come.
“We are definitely going to see us in disagreement, but we are still family,” said Cohan. “We will be sharing some really bold scenes”
And what about the bad guys? Will they find a new path now that the show is changing direction?
“We are going to find out a different side of Negan quickly when the season nine starts. There has been a growing period for him,” said Jeffrey Dean Morgan. “You get to see a different side of him as the season goes. If that is a good thing or a bad thing, I don’t know, but I think there is redemption to be had for Negan.”
“This is a very female driven season right now, and it’s nice to have that happen. And the stories are told in a different way. A lot of depth this year. It’s like we are shooting a Western, but with more feeling. I’m loving this season!,” said Norman Reedus.
Season 9 of The Walking Dead will premiere on October 7th on AMC