Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), formerly known as Jadis of the Scavengers, is in contact with a mystery group in possession of a helicopter and seemingly expansive resources — a group whose true purpose has yet to be fully revealed on The Walking Dead.
Tonight’s episode, the last for Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln, will divulge new information about Anne’s ongoing correspondence with the group, as revealed by an extended sneak peek released by AMC Friday.
Rick and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), both former prisoners of Jadis, were classified as “A”s. Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), Anne’s lover and most recent captive, was initially labeled a “B” before he refused her offer to go with her to someplace far away, somewhere Anne said offered a better life.
The series could be hinting at the introduction of the Commonwealth, a network of more than 50,000 survivors first established in creator Robert Kirkman’s comics. That story, currently unfolding in the monthly series, sees Rick, Michonne, Eugene and others contend with the elaborate network of communities, which operates on a class system.
Showrunner Angela Kang acknowledged The Walking Dead Season Nine has one eye towards the horizon, threading set ups for future stories that will expand the budding Walking Dead universe as the franchise will soon broaden with other shows and movies.
“Obviously the Commonwealth does mean things to people; we’re starting to seed in some future stories,” Kang told IGN.
“The timing of those stories may not be in the immediate future, but there will be things this season that are groundwork being laid for finding out more about the world.”
Answers about the recurring helicopter, Kang teased, will come as audiences learn “a little bit more about that mystery and how it might connect to other people or places.”
It’s an elaborate plot thread that has been unfolding for years, conceived by executive producer Scott Gimple, and one that proved so secretive even Kang wasn’t privy to all of its secrets until her promotion to Gimple’s former position as showrunner.
“Scott Gimple knew what the helicopter was for a long time,” Kang told THR.
“He was a little secretive, even with [the writers’ room], about what it was. He did let me in on some of it at some point last year. We went into this season with a pretty good knowledge about the intention behind the helicopter and where it would lead.”0comments
The close-to-the-vest nature of the helicopter mystery suggests big revelations are tied to the group, potentially playing out in a spinoff if not addressed in the mothership series.
The Walking Dead airs Rick Grimes’ last episode tonight at 9/8c on AMC.