Here's a guide to all the characters featured in The Walking Dead season 9, as well as a primer to the new faces making their debut. The last time viewers saw Rick Grimes and his band of zombie apocalypse survivors, the evil Saviors had been soundly beaten. However, Rick created division among his people by opting to keep their leader, Negan, alive as part of a new resolve to rebuild civilization.
With a significant time-skip and the promise to return to the feel of previous seasons, The Walking Dead season 9 is sure to see plenty of changes and, naturally, plenty of new characters. With Alexandria and its surrounding communities steadily growing, there will be new protagonists to learn to love, or otherwise, and infamous comic villains The Whisperers will also be rearing their ugly, zombie skin-covered heads.
The undead mayhem is set to begin on October 7, and ahead of that take a look at our guide to all the major characters confirmed to appear.
Returning Characters In The Walking Dead Season 9
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - Chief of Alexandria and lead protagonist of The Walking Dead since season 1. Rick's son Carl died from a zombie bite last season, ultimately prompting Rick to strive towards building a brighter future in his memory. Newcomers to the show probably shouldn't get attached to this character - Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead this season
Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee - Rick's friend and ally and undisputed leader of the Hilltop community, Maggie's lover, Glenn, was brutally murdered by Negan and she feels betrayed by Rick's decision to keep the baddie alive. Best not to get too familiar with her either, actually.
Danai Gurira as Michonne - A prominent member of the Alexandria community and a master of the samurai sword. As Rick's partner, Michonne will likely take on some of Andrea's arcs from the comic books and since it has been suggested that women will take on a more prominent role in TWD season 9, expect much more Michonne.
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - Fan favorite Daryl is like a brother to Rick, but he too is angry at the mercy shown towards Negan and is conspiring alongside Maggie. Daryl will likely become the show's male lead by default this season but Reedus himself has admitted that his character is not a competent leader.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan - Negan finds himself a prisoner of Alexandria in season 9 and Morgan has revealed that although his character will attempt to retain that signature swagger, Negan will struggle to keep himself together this season. The big question is, however, exactly how long will this villain remain behind bars?
Jon Bernthal as Shane Walsh - Shane, of course, died back in TWD's second season but Bernthal, who has since been starring in The Punisher, has been confirmed to appear nevertheless. Most likely, Shane's return will be part of a dream or flashback sequence connected to Rick's exit.
Also returning are Carol, Tara, Eugene, Rosita, Father Gabriel, Jesus, Aaron, Enid, Siddiq, deposed Hilltop leader Gregory, reluctant ex-Savior Alden, Jadis, Kingdom leader Ezekiel, Jerry, Saviors Arat, Regina and Laura and Oceanside's Cyndie.
New Survivors In The Walking Dead Season 9
Nadia Hilker as Magna - In the comics, Magna's group arrive at Alexandria immediately after the timeskip and despite initial distrust, eventually become key members of the community. Magna, in particular, proves to be a worthy combatant. Hilker will be familiar to fans of The 100.
Eleanor Matsuura as Yumiko - Magna's right-hand woman and love interest, Yumiko is generally more easy-going than her partner. Other group members include Luke, Kelly and Connie, the show's first deaf character and a figure not adapted from the comics.
Brett Butler as Tammy Rose - Hilltop resident Tammy's main contribution to the comic series involves an altercation with Carl Grimes that ultimately leads to Maggie making a landmark decision. With Carl gone from TV, it'll be interesting to see how this character fits in to the story.
John Finn as Earl - As the Hilltop's blacksmith, Earl is instrumental in keeping the allied communities armed but, like Tammy, his main story is the comics involves Carl, who he takes as an apprentice. For the purposes of the TV show, Earl is Tammy's husband.
New Villains In The Walking Dead Season 9
Samantha Morton as Alpha - The Walking Dead's new big bad. Alpha leads a large group known as The Whisperers who dress in dried zombie skins and mingle with the hordes of undead. Although they largely keep to themselves, The Whisperers don't take kindly to any intrusion of their territory. Morton is an Oscar-nominated actress of both television and film who most recently appeared in Harlots.
Ryan Hurst as Beta - The Whisperers' second-in-command and a physically formidable villain. Beta has a particularly interesting fight with Negan in the comics but unlike the other members of his group, Beta strangely refuses to take off his zombie mask. Hurst played Opie Winston in Sons of Anarchy.
Cassady McClincy as Lydia - Despite being Alpha's daughter, Lydia doesn't necessarily agree with her mother's primitive lifestyle and, in the comics at least, is ritually abused by her group. This leads to conflicting loyalties for the youngster but, once again, Carl is central to her story, as the two develop a romantic relationship.
The Walking Dead season 9 premieres October 7th on AMC.