Lacking an official announcement for Season 9, fans of The Walking Dead are beginning to wonder if or when to expect the zombie drama's next season. Some are beginning to suspect an extended break between Season 8 and its successor.
The Walking Dead will be returning a bit later than usual in 2018, with a February 25 premiere date for the back half of Season 8. Following it, Morgan Jones will crossover into Fear the Walking Dead for what will likely be another 16-episode season with a short hiatus in between around the time of San Diego Comic Con. Typically, The Walking Dead would begin its next season in late October, and as much will likely be the case once again.
The Walking Dead's delayed start in February is unlikely related to any Season 9 situation. Debuting on the traditional Valentine's Day weekend would pit the AMC series against the Winter Olympics while the delay allows more time for the show to catch up on a trio of delays caused by an on-set accident, a hurricane, and the writer's strike. Furthermore, the delay might even be paving the way for The Walking Dead Season 8 to end exactly one week before Morgan continues his story on Fear the Walking Dead's Season 4.
Make no mistake, though; Season 9 of The Walking Dead is coming. The series, however, is at work behind-the-scenes working out business aspects of the production before a ninth season can officially be announced.
"We're juggling a lot of things but there's been no discussion about season nine being the end," showrunner Scott Gimple previously told THR. "I'm confident of beyond a 10th season; we're building toward the future."
Contracts among actors, many of which expired after the eighth season, are one factor contributing to the hold up sources tell ComicBook.com.
"I wouldn't speak to any of that but I'm very confident of a 10th season," Gimple went on with THR about the cast's contract situation. "I think it is a question but there is some business to handle with the things you just said. I'm not sure if they're entirely on the money, as far as timing and everything like that, but I think we are tending to a lot of stuff before we jump into that. In the same respect, there's a super long-term plan and we're continuing to follow it. I know that's a lot of double-talk but I would say everything is quite cool."
The possibility remains for the AMC series to give some extra breathing room in the form of a Fall 2019 Season 9 premiere, however, such a move seems unlikely. At a time where the show's ratings are already sliding in the wrong direction, fading from the public eye in the aftermath of a compelling All Out War story's conclusion might do more harm than good. If Fear the Walking Dead were indeed planning to merge with The Walking Dead, a pair of seasons might be enough to bridge the extended gap through some eyes, but the sibling series would have a hard time satisfying zombie hungry fans for two years who have grown attached to Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Carol, and other Alexandrians.
Other shows which have taken extended breaks between seasons include Game of Thrones, which likely won't return for its final season until 2019, and USA's Colony, which allowed nearly a year between in its first and second seasons finale and premiere episodes.
Still, the safe bet is AMC and The Walking Dead work out any contractual kinks or otherwise which there may or may not be to get the ball rolling on Season 9's production in April or May of 2018 for an October 2018 premiere.
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.