The Walking Dead will return in 2018 with season 9, taking the survivors even deeper into the post-apocalyptic future. And it's going to be a pretty different show. There have been changes both in front and behind camera, with Angela Kang replacing Scott Gimple as showrunner and Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick and has been at the center of the show since its premiere, set to leave.
- Release Date: TBA, likely mid to late October 2018
- Cast: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
- Directors: Various, Greg Nicotero will return
- Showrunner: Angela Kang
Last Updated: July 20, 2018
Returning Cast Members For The Walking Dead Season 9
Much of The Walking Dead's main cast have already renewed their contracts for season 9. Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Josh McDermittt (Eugene Porter), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambers), Christian Serratos (Rosita Espinoza), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) have all been confirmed to return, assuming their characters survive season 8. Maggie Rhee actress, Lauren Cohan is also back, albeit for a shorter run.
Chandler Riggs will not be present for season 9, despite Carl Grimes having been a key character for much of the series. Carl died by walker bite in the season 8 mid-season premiere. Lennie James may not be featured in The Walking Dead, as his character, Morgan Jones, will now be joining sister series Fear the Walking Dead - though don't rule out the possibility of him appearing in both shows, since Fear is a prequel set before Morgan was reunited with Rick. Corey Hawkins is rumored to (finally) be returning as Heath.
The Walking Dead Season 9's New Cast Members
The Walking Dead killed off quite a few people last season, so season 9 will replenish the ranks. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them actor Dan Fogler has been cast in a role that is currently being kept under wraps. Into the Badlands actress Eleanor Matsuura will play Yumiko, a character from the comics, and Lauren Ridloff (Wonderstruck) will play Connie, another member of Yumiko's group.
Andrew Lincoln Is Leaving the Show
Season 8 of The Walking Dead spent an entire episode killing off Carl Grimes, and it looks like Rick Grimes could follow his son in season 9. At the very least, Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show after half a dozen more episodes. This was first reported in May, and despite attempts to quell the rumor, it was recently confirmed by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. However, while most characters tend to leave The Walking Dead in a coffin (or rather, a shallow grave), we could see Rick exit the show another way - for example, by abandoning the community he helped to build, or being driven out by Maggie's brewing civil war.
The Walking Dead's Story So Far
Rick has become the de facto leader of Alexandria following the deaths of the entire Monroe family. Carol has gained a special relationship with Kingdom leader King Ezekiel, despite her earlier attempts to be left alone. Maggie is essentially situated as leader of the Hilltop, and the citizens of the community show her respect and turn to her for advice and support. The three camps have been battling Negan and his brutal army of Saviors in “All Out War” - often leading to inside conflict as each survivor struggles to reconcile themselves with each others' methods of dealing with Negan and the Saviors.
The Whisperers Are A Strong Bet For The Walking Dead Season 9
No details have been confirmed, but Scott Gimple has promised that the Whisperers will be tackled on the show, making their introduction a logical progression for season 9. This should see Negan grow from a villain to more of an antihero, if the season plays out anything like the comic books. Heath is reported to be returning, and his mysterious disappearance will finally be explained. However the season progresses, viewers can expect radical changes from the comic storyline, given Carl's death and the possible departure of Maggie.
There's Been A Massive Shakeup Behind-The-Scenes On The Walking Dead
Disappointed fans may have been calling for Scott Gimple's resignation following Carl's shocking death, but they won't be getting their wish any time soon. Quite the contrary. Gimple has been promoted to Chief Content Officer for all of AMC's Walking Dead shows, including Fear The Walking Dead and any future projects. With that said, writer Angela Kang (who scripted one of season 7's most popular episodes, "Sing Me A Song") will be stepping into Gimple's former position as showrunner in The Walking Dead season 9.
The Walking Dead Season 9 Teaser Trailer Promises a New World
The first teaser trailer for The Walking Dead season 9 was released ahead of San Diego Comic-Con 2018, and sees trouble already stirring amid Rick's attempt to rebuild civilization. As scenes of the survivors play out, Michonne tells Maggie in a conspiratorial whisper, "We need to start talking about making some rules. An agreement between all the communities. Like, this is how we treat each other, and this is what happens when we don't."
The Walking Dead Season 9 Is Still Awaiting A Poster
The Walking Dead season 9 does not have an officially released poster yet. We can likely expect a poster to be revealed at San Diego Comic-Con this July. The show has a history of timing their poster reveals with other popular franchises, often poking fun at their rivals in their images. Previous poster wars pitted The Walking Dead against Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
More The Walking Dead Spinoffs Are On The Way
Showrunners have expressed interest in expanding The Walking Dead's universe with multiple spinoffs, noting that the zombie drama could last as long as the Star Trek franchise. Greg Nicotero suggested a spinoff featuring frozen winter walkers the from the comic books, while Robert Kirkman teased that the story could begin to expand outside of North America. The Walking Dead has taken place largely in rural Georgia and Virginia, while Fear The Walking Dead has traveled the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Read More: AMC Promises More The Walking Dead Spinoffs
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