There will be a lot of changes when The Walking Dead returns in October. “We’re really looking at the start of a new chapter of the show,” says The Walking Dead exec producer Angela Kang about season 9. Which is fitting, seeing as how Kang is now taking over showrunning duties from Scott M. Gimple, who has assumed more of a franchise overseer role. That new chapter will also mean a new look, which you can see here in the exclusive first image for season 9. The new look promises a back to basics approach for the survivors, and it is one born out of necessity, for while society may have indeed crumbled thanks to the zombie apocalypse, we will now see it literally crumbling as well — especially after a time jump.
“We’ll explore what happened as man made objects and structures break down,” says Kang. “Infrastructure like roads and bridges are changing and crumbling. And we’ll also explore what happens as resources are getting low.” You can see the effect of that in the photo, as Michonne leads a group of survivors… on horseback. “There’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged,” notes Kang. “We are going into a period where a lot of the things that we’ve seen in previous seasons have broken down, so they’ve got these horses and carriages that are being drawn around instead of cars. Things are lit with oil lamps. People are using different kinds of weaponry. There’s a real grittiness to it that I think will be fun and fresh for the viewers.”
And will Rick Grimes’ vision for a new utopia in which different communities work together for the betterment of all actually play out? (It’s a question made all the most imperative with the impending departure of star Andrew Lincoln, who reportedly will be leaving the show this season.) “We’ll see our group together working in unity in a lot of ways, but you’ll also see some changes in the way that they deal with each other,” teases Kang. “In some ways, you’ll see that the vision has succeeded beyond anybody’s wildest imagination. But you’ll also see the cracks in that.” Alas, the crumbling continues.
Check out the season 9 photo in all of its splendor and glory above, and for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.