‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner Explains Why the Kingdom Had to Fall

The Kingdom was forced to shutter after suffering insurmountable damages, bringing another significant departure from Robert Kirkman’s comics that will continue to be explored in unexpected ways in Season Ten, teases Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang.

“I thought that it was interesting to do a twist that doesn’t exist in the books, and I think in some ways we wanted to have what was happening physically at the Kingdom, as well as on a very personal level with Ezekiel and Carol, all kind of mirror each other,” Kang told EW.

“I also really love having scenes with our characters together and having them be on adventures together. Having them so spread out in order to play the difficulty of getting from one place to the other, the people end up getting stuck in their communities, and so I thought, well here’s an interesting obstacle to play.”

That move comes as the death of son Henry (Matt Lintz) acted as a devastating blow to the fairytale romance between Carol (Melissa McBride) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who separated before going their own ways and taking refuge at Alexandria and Hilltop, respectively. Now, with the survivors under constant threat by the territorial Whisperers, the collapse of the Kingdom raises an intriguing dilemma ripe for the picking next season:

“An entire community shuts down at a time when there’s a certain lack of resources because of the state of the world, and also here is this new enemy that is saying, ‘All of this land is mine. Who cares if that’s your hunting land or your way to travel to each other? Who cares? This is all mine,’” Kang said.

“I thought it created these really interesting obstacles for the final episode. But going forward, I think having them unified but also dealing with what happens when basically an entire community is now refugees to your community and the strain that that can put on you, but also the help that you get from that, it just seemed like there was some really interesting areas for us to play with.”

Beyond exploring the aftermath of Carol and Ezekiel’s grief in Season Ten, the next season opener will pick up months later with the characters in new places — physically and emotionally.

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“Things are going to pick up with a little bit more of a time passage, not a giant one like we’ve had,” Kang said of that midseason six-year time skip, “but winter will be over and people will be going to be in a different emotional space.”

AMC premieres The Walking Dead Season Ten this October.