Following up on our first official in-series look at Michonne (Danai Gurira) from The Walking Dead‘s upcoming ninth season, AMC is now giving us our first look at Norman Reedus‘s still-can’t-find-a-decent-razor Daryl Dixon (which you can see below). Showrunner/executive producer Angela Kang shared the image exclusively with Entertainment Weekly; and also offered some additional insight into/teases for what our core characters will be facing in the “new chapter” season.
● Though the creative team have stressed that season 9 would be expanding the Walking Dead universe and introducing new characters, Kang reassured viewers that the core characters would still be playing a major role in what’s to come:
“We’ll see a lot of the core relationships. We’ll be delving into those and seeing how people are thinking about bigger problems. And thinking about their philosophies, and thinking about how people come together and create civilization and what those rules are going to be, and how you contend with it. And I think that there’ll be some really interesting storylines for people who care about some of these characters that we’ve been following for years. Because they are family at this point, and they love each other. They respect each other, but those relationships are very complicated. So, 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.”
● What about that whole Maggie (Lauren Cohan)/Daryl/Rick (Andrew Lincoln) “problem” we saw rear its ugy head at the end of last season? Kang says it’s definitely going to be addressed – but it might not go the way viewers expect:
“There will definitely be story about Maggie and Daryl and Rick and where they are at with each other. I don’t want to spoil too much about that storyline, but there will be some surprises along the way with it. It’s definitely something that we will be exploring this season.”
Here’s a look at AMC’s first official image, released earlier this week; as well as some highlights from Kang’s interview about what fans can expect from the upcoming season:
In the image, we see an almost numb-looking Michonne on horseback, with Sydney Park‘s Cyndie, Callan McAuliffe‘s Alden, and others either tending to the horses – or looking at Michonne with concern as she rides off. We’ve been told to expect a time jump — so does what we’re seeing have anything to do with something that happens during that “jump”?
● While walkers will alway remain a clear and present danger to our heroes for the foreseeable future, the growing community will be facing another crisis — a man-made one: “We’ll explore what happened as man made objects and structures break down. Infrastructure like roads and bridges are changing and crumbling. And we’ll also explore what happens as resources are getting low.”
● Beyond just being a very cool visual, the released image also demonstrates how the survivors are going to have to deal with things falling apart literally before they can build back up:
“There’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged. 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.”
● So will Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Carol (Melissa McBride) and the others finally get the community they’ve fought eight seasons for? Did you really think Kang was going to give you a straight answer? But we do get this tease:
“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. 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.”
Fans attending this year’s Comic-Con International (SDCC) might be in for even more revelations, as The Walking Dead makes its way to San Diego for a pre-season panel presentation:
The Walking Dead (Friday, July 20: 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. – Hall H)
Panelists (M: Yvette Nicole Brown): Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan; executive producer/showrunner Angela Kang; executive producers Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, and David Alpert; and executive producer/director/special effects make-up supervisor Greg Nicotero.
Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, “The Walking Dead” reigns as television’s most watched drama for adults 18-49 for a record-breaking six consecutive years. “The Walking Dead” tells the story of the months and years that follow after a zombie apocalypse, and follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, who travel in search of a safe and secure home. The series is executive produced by chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner Angela Kang, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse and Denise Huth.