With The Walking Dead season 8 finale behind us, the AMC series is heading for a new beginning. Scott M. Gimple, former showrunner of the series who will now be overseeing the entire Walking Dead universe for the network, is teasing some major changes on the horizon for Rick and the gang next season. While he can't get into specifics, don't expect the same old show when new episodes arrive in the fall.
Warning: this article will contain massive spoilers for the season 8 finale. If you're not caught up and want to avoid spoilers, turn back now. Scott M. Gimple is passing the torch to Angela Kang, who will take over as showrunner for The Walking Dead season 9. "The newness of the narrative is driven by her vision," Gimple says. The season 8 finale concluded the All Out War arc, with Rick prevailing over Negan at long last. What does that mean for season 9? Here's what Gimple had to say about it.
"I'll just say that the show evolves in a huge way. They'll be dealing with things we haven't seen them deal with before and dealing with each other in ways we haven't seen before. What they have planned is, it just feels new. It feels like an evolved show. This very much lived in the world that Rick began with. It was so informed by the pilot. It just takes this quantum leap forward in the stories that it tells."
As it's been explained and discussed so far, it sounds like The Walking Dead season 9 will be something of a soft, albeit very soft, reboot for the series. One thing that won't be going away though is Negan. Even though Jeffrey Dean Morgan won't necessarily return, Rick decided to let Negan live in the season 8 finale, which was something of a surprise for many viewers, given how many of Rick's friends that the leather-clad bad guy has killed over the past couple of seasons. In The Walking Dead comics, Negan was also allowed to live and the power of that moment in the books is what led Scott M. Gimple to keep it that way for the show.
"When I read it in the book, it was shocking to me and it was something that resounded with me. I really liked it when I read it because it was unexpected. It was the right thing for the character, it was the right thing for the world. For what Rick wants, for what Carl wanted before him, it really was the only way forward. The fact that it's nice to see something like that in an age when everything seems so combative and so aggressive was just the frosting on the cake."
This decision will have major implications for season 9, as Maggie, played by Lauren Cohan, along with Daryl and Jesus aren't too pleased with Rick allowing Negan to live. So it looks like they're going to be turning on Rick next season. Cohan still doesn't have a contract for next season and has been tapped to star in a pilot for the series Whiskey Cavalier for ABC, which could become problematic. No matter how that shakes out, The Walking Dead season 9 sounds like it could have a lot to offer fans who have grown tired of the AMC series in recent years. This news comes to us courtesy of Variety.