Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes

When we last left Rick Grimes and his embattled survivors they had finally concluded season 8’s “All Out War”, beating the Saviors and sparing Negan’s life in an act of magnanimous mercy.  

Will Maggie, none too pleased at Rick’s compassion, turn to the dark side? Will discord among the survivors give way to a coup? And is Negan really no longer a threat?

Only time will tell – but for now, here’s what we do know.

There will be a jump ahead in time

Just like in the comics, season 9 will jump forward a year and a half in time, making way for a major refresh. After so much destruction, the survivors must now begin the process of rebuilding civilisation, creating communities and restoring order – a task much easier said than done.  

There’s a new showrunner

This season, long-time writer Angela Kang will be taking over from Scott M. Gimple, who is moving on to become chief content officer of The Walking Dead’s ever-expanding TV universe.

Kang, who has been writing for the show since season 1, has said that she’s looking forward to creating more great stories for strong female characters in upcoming episodes of the show.

We’ll be seeing new characters

Expect to see fresh faces in The Walking Dead this season – some friendly, some not. Actress Samantha Morton will be joining the cast as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, an enemy group who wear suits of human flesh to blend in with their zombie foes.

Helping the survivors fight them off will be two new LGBTQ characters - Magna (Nadia Hilko) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuka).

We’ll be saying goodbye to Rick Grimes

After 8 long years playing the stalwart survivor Rick Grimes, actor Andrew Lincoln has confirmed that this season will be his last.

While we will have to wait and see what fate Rick will meet, it is worth noting that the character is still alive and well in the comics – but as we have learned in the past there are no guarantees when it comes to life and death in The Walking Dead.

 

The Walking Dead returns Monday 8 October to TVNZ 2 and OnDemand.

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