‘The Walking Dead’ Cast on What to Expect from Season 9

The Walking Dead stars appearing on the Talking Dead Season Nine preview special aired Sunday promised exciting changes and a “whole new normal” when the series returns for Season Nine.

“I think what fans are going to enjoy most about this season is how much is happening. There’s tons of change and it’s really exciting,” teased Maggie actress Lauren Cohan, whose widowed Hilltop leader has welcomed her son during the skipped-over 18 month time jump.

Audiences catch up with the survivors in a world that has both evolved and devolved: the communities — Alexandria, the Kingdom, Oceanside, the Sanctuary, and Hilltop — have formed a network and established an old-school barter system, but the world itself has continued to break down and fall into disarray.

“I think what’s really exciting is the world has evolved. It’s so funny, because it’s not a progression, it’s de-gression,” said Michonne actress Danai Gurira.

“Which happens when you’re basically in a post-apocalyptic world. What’s gonna be really exciting I think for the fans [is] to see how we’re adapting to that. We have a whole new normal when we get back, it’s exactly what would happen.”

New Season Nine showrunner Angela Kang revealed previously a “fun Western vibe” has emerged, with bullets giving way to handheld weapons and old-timey tools like carriages and oil lamps becoming the new normal. “The way this world looks now, I think it’s fascinating,” said series newcomer Avi Nash, who boarded in Season Eight as the medically-experienced Siddiq.

“It’s really cool to see how they have restructured their lives. We see our heroes start to relax a little bit more into themselves,” said Ross Marquand, who plays a now-bearded Aaron. “I mean, there’s still a lot of hurt that they’re sorting through, but now they’re finally starting to come into their own and just accept the world as it is. They’re not trying to fight against it.”

“It’s the same show, but it’s a different show. It has a new soundtrack, you know what I mean? It really, really does,” added series veteran Norman Reedus, who recently dispelled rumors his Daryl Dixon was taking over from Rick Grimes as new series lead.

The Walking Dead will be moving forward without longtime series lead Andrew Lincoln, who will be taking Rick Grimes with him as he exits the series before the midway point in Season Nine.

“It feels like the show I feel in love with nine years ago, it feels like we’re making that version again,” Lincoln said, pointing to the Frank Darabont-helmed first season that felt lived-in, raw, and real.

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That similar tone was glimpsed in the just-released first clip from the season, which saw Daryl and Carol (Melissa McBride) engage in a low-key, naturalistic conversation.

The Walking Dead Season Nine launches Sunday, October 7 on AMC.