'The Walking Dead': Angela Kang Breaks Down Season 9 Premiere

The Walking Dead moved quickly in its Season Nine premiere, pitting allies against each other and taking out a major character before it concluded, all decisions made by new showrunner Angela Kang.

Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x01 follow. Major spoilers!

Kang's first episode as showrunner is out there now. It premiered on AMC on Sunday night, giving the world a look at her nostalgic and fast-pace vibes, which included Daryl and Maggie being at odds with Rick and the death of Gregory in true-to-comic form. "It's surreal," Kang told ComicBook.com in the interview seen above. "I'm glad that it seems that for the most part the response has been mostly positive. I think that everybody has worked so hard to create the episode. I wrote this script but it took, literally, hundreds of people to create this episode."

It didn't take long for the Sanctuary's new leader Daryl to present some of his frustrations to Rick Grimes. While some fans are panicking for two of the show's longest running survivors, Kang offered up a bit of reassurance. "I think these two characters, they're brothers, and brothers don't always agree," Kang said. "The beautiful thing about people who love each other so much is they can just tell each other truth in a way that people who aren't as close might tip toe around the truth. Norman and Andy playing those roles, they did such incredible, beautiful work. They rehearsed so much and just really nailed every little emotional beat of that scene. They were excited to play it because they don't disrespect each other. It ends in a friendly way. There's pain, there's disagreement, there's different philosophies. That's true to life. That's true of families and friendships in America and all over the world."

The only other character vocally expressing their discern with Negan's survival of the All Out War story is Maggie. The character fulfilled the prophecy laid out by Rick of becoming the Hilltop's leader but she is tired of him not listening to her, especially when it costs her people their lives. "I loved how they play that scene," Kang said in reference to Rick and Maggie's Barrington House balcony scene. "Lauren brings such depth to Maggie and, again, it's another scene where two people who have been so close for years. Rick was really a mentor to Maggie and she still thinks of him that way but she's coming into her own as a leader. She's becoming the leader that Rick saw in her all this time. That means sometimes she has to tell him, 'I'm going to handle my business differently than you do and we're gonna have to be okay with each other.'"

Of course, this meant Maggie would execute Gregory for his attempt on her life which came late in the premiere episode. While Xander Berkeley was expecting his character to bow out, no one could have seen the death coming so quickly. "Part of it was the pacing," Kang said. "I think a lot of times we would have probably put that story a little deeper into the season. It felt like we have been building this story between Maggie and Gregory based on the comic book storyline for a while now. It's been building to this point, and building, and building, and Maggie has given him chance after chance. It just felt like a certain point, she is at an emotional point where she's like, 'Forget it. It's done. You've had all the chances. There's no more chances to be had.' It just felt like it was all part of the story of the premiere."

Furthermore, the death of Gregory will be a major factor moving forward. "The other thing is this incident, the incidents of this episode, domino into the incidents that follow in the episodes to come," Kang said. "It was really important to just put the pedal to metal on that particular story piece so we could have all of the rest of the story that follows."


Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!