'The Walking Dead' Season 9 Casts Lauren Ridloff in Comic Character Role

AMC has cast Tony-nominated Broadway actress Lauren Ridloff as Connie for an arc of the ninth season of The Walking Dead.

Ridloff is a deaf actress who was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for her role in Children of a Lesser God.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Connie is “a seasoned survivor deft at using her senses to read people, situations, and trouble. Her character is deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.”

Connie is a character that was first introduced in Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics. Some SPOILERS for those comics follow.

Connie first appeared in The Walking Dead #127, which is right where The Walking Dead television series left off at the end of Season Eight, just before an expected time jump in the early episodes of Season Nine.

In the comics, Connie is not deaf and is part of a fresh group of survivors led by a character named Magna. The group ends up in Alexandria, where they encounter the main characters of The Walking Dead.

Ridloff was crowned Miss Deaf America in 2000. She’s a former teacher who became the ASL tutor for Kenny Leon when he was directing Children of a Lesser God. After Ridloff filled in during a table read before the role of Sarah Norman in the play had been cast, Leon decided to give Ridloff the part opposite Joshua Jackson. Her performance was critically-acclaimed, earning a Tony nomination and an Outer Critics Circle nomination.

Ridloff is The Walking Dead’s first deaf actress, but its second Tony nominee. Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, was nominated for Best Play for writing Eclipse in 2016.

Angela Kang will take over as The Walking Dead's new showrunner in Season Nine, and she's teased that the series will have a new vibe to it after the time jump.

“There’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged,” Kang told Entertainment Weekly. “We are going into a period where a lot of the things that we’ve seen in previous seasons have broken down, so they’ve got these horses and carriages that are being drawn around instead of cars. Things are lit with oil lamps. People are using different kinds of weaponry. There’s a real grittiness to it that I think will be fun and fresh for the viewers.”

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The Walking Dead debuts its first season 9 trailer this Friday, July 20, at San Diego Comic-Con, ahead of its October season premiere on AMC.