For the first time ever, a woman is in charge of day-to-day operations on The Walking Dead, as longtime writer and producer Angela Kang has taken over showrunning duties from Scott M. Gimple (who has assumed more of a franchise overseer role). But the focus on female leadership will be seen on screen as well as off for season 9.
According to Kang, the core women characters are going to be at the center of the action, and — as we’ve already seen with Maggie at the Hilltop — calling the shots and then dealing with the ramifications of those decisions. Kang also hints that there may be some division within the ranks. “We’re going to see our women really step up,” says the showrunner. “And we’re gonna show a lot of stories about leadership with Maggie, with Michonne, with Carol. And they’re gonna go toe to toe with each other and with our men.”
That mirrors what Kang told us about there being “cracks” in the group dynamic in season 9. She also mentioned previously how we would “see some changes in the way that they deal with each other.” No doubt some of that tension will be a result of the disagreement over what to do with Negan, whom Maggie clearly wants dead. “We’re interested in human drama and the emotional bonds between people,” notes Kang. “And we know from the end of the previous season that maybe not everybody was on board with the decision to save Negan. So we’ll be exploring some of those stories as we go forward.”
Regardless, the showrunner is pumped for folks to see the work that Lauren Cohan, Dania Gurira, Melissa McBride, and others are doing on the program. “We’ll see some really complex relationship work,” says Kang. “And I’m so proud of the work that our women are doing on the show, and I’m really excited for our audience to see it because they’re having so much fun with each other. They’re just killing it.”
But what about another prominent and powerful female? Will we be meeting the next great Walking Dead comic book villain in Alpha and her group of Whisperers in season 9? “I don’t wanna spoil anything for the fans,” says the ever-cagey Kang. “I’m gonna say, watch and see.”
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