As the world of The Walking Dead continues to decay, another evolution takes place as our survivors find themselves in a place of rebirth and renewal in the Western-like Season Nine.
“There’s not thousands of bullets, we’re running out of things. We’re on horseback. It’s cowboys and zombies,” departing Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln said in a behind-the-scenes video newly released by AMC.
The experienced survivors now carry more hand weapons — Rick has opted for a skull-smashing mace, while Daryl wields a pair of saw-backed Bowie knives — as fuel and bullets are in desperately short supply.
“Aspects of mankind that we know are becoming less and less prevalent,” said executive producer and director Greg Nicotero, who promised this season will give “fans the show they fell in love with.”
The new season, which soon loses both Lincoln and Maggie actress Lauren Cohan, will return more of a focus to “the characters that have chemistry, the characters that have history, the characters that we want to see together,” Nicotero said.
An 18-months-later time jump brings a lot of change to a semi-rebooted The Walking Dead, but its preceding eight-year run won’t be discounted, said new Season Nine showrunner Angela Kang, a veteran writer-producer on the series since its second season in 2011.
“[Season Nine] opens up a new chapter, although the things that have happened definitely affect the things that they do going forward,” Kang said.
Added executive producer Denise Huth, “It’s very much the theme of a new beginning. It just feels really fresh.”
This new direction has emerged as “the show I always hoped we’d get to when we shot the pilot,” said Lincoln, who explained with the new season he wanted to “jettison the next chapter into this other new world.”
That other new world will be one without sheriff’s deputy-turned-apocalyptic leader Rick Grimes, who is famously soon to exit in the front half of the season. On The Walking Dead moving on without its longtime lead, Lincoln said only, “No one is more important than the story.”
AMC debuts a refreshed The Walking Dead Season Nine Sunday, October 7 with an extended season premiere.