The Walking Dead season 9 is officially underway. We're just a few weeks removed from the season 8 finale of the hit AMC series, which was explosive and has major implications on the show moving forward. Now, the cast and crew are back to it, as the first set photo has arrived, announcing the beginning of production as filming gets underway. While it may not look like much, the photo is actually quite revealing.

In the photo, we see a clapboard with the production information for the first day written on it. This reveals that Greg Nicotero will be directing The Walking Dead season 9 premiere episode. Nicotero is one of the most prominent directors in the show's history. He directed the season 8 finale, as well as Chandler Riggs' last episode as Carl Grimes last season, in addition to many others over the course of the show's run. So having him back isn't necessarily a surprise, but for those who are still fans of the show, it's surely welcome news. But even though there is a familiar director in place, there are plenty of changes afoot this season.

The the photo also reveals the Hilltop in the background, and things have clearly developed quite a bit from last time we saw the location. The Saviors have built things up and made use of the land's resources. This also signifies that we're going to be experiencing a bit of a time jump in The Walking Dead season 9, which was expected but not confirmed by Scott M. Gimple, who formerly served as showrunner and now oversees the whole Walking Dead universe for AMC. Instead, it will be Angela Kang taking over as showrunner for the new season. Andrew Lincoln recently spoke about her upcoming tenure and seems rather excited about the prospect of having some new blood on board.

"I'm very excited about Angela [Kang]'s tenure. She pitched the first eight a couple of weeks ago. I think we're getting the first episode today. There's a renewed vigor, vitality, energy, and just vision that's happening that is reminiscent, and certainly for me, of the pilot episode. There's a lot of things in there that I kind of dig that she's looking into. The things that I loved about the pilot episode, there's a few ideas in there that she's expanding and running with, which is very exciting."

AMC has experienced steady ratings drops with The Walking Dead over the last couple of seasons. While it's still a huge hit, they're hoping to win some fans back over by essentially hitting the reset button with the upcoming season. Perhaps with a new showrunner, a time jump and the lack of a frustrating cliffhanger to resolve, the show can get back to its former glory. The Walking Dead season 9 returns to AMC this fall. You can check out the first set photo, courtesy of The Walking Dead Instagram page, for yourself below.

Ryan Scott at TVweb
Ryan Scott