Fans fell in love with The Walking Dead in its earliest season as themes of mystery, relationships, and survival layered a complex drama of characters surviving in a world ruled by undead threats. In its upcoming ninth season, new showrunner Angela Kang recaptured a similar vibe (at least in the first three episodes) which is earning quite a bit of adoration already.
Returning The Walking Dead to a vibe which is often praised as some of its best content, the days which earned praise from fans and critics alike across the board, was an intentional move made my Kang. Though the show maintains a fresh story and develops many brand new characters, the tone will be nostalgic for those millions of fans who have stuck around since day one.
"For the people who know the comic, there is this time jump," Kang said. "So it kind of takes the show and the books, into sort of this interesting almost like western/agrarian vibe. That was something I really wanted to capture for the show."
Right off the bat, there are moments which reflect the earliest episode of The Walking Dead, which saw Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes riding into Atlanta on horseback. This time around, he trots into Washington D.C. with his new family.
"I also was such a fan of the pilot and so I wanted to kind of try to, aspire to, recapture some of that feeling of the silences and those beautiful wide landscapes, and just the loneliness that can be in the world," Kang said. "Except now, we're in a part where we really see that the characters have found this group and they're very tight with each other. So, you get to feel that the warmth between them while there's also conflict.
"We had a lot of conversations, before the season started, with the DPs, about the look of the show and how we can maximize the use of film since we still shoot on film, which almost nobody does. What can we do to make it look as beautiful as possible? As well as the Art Department, we had a lot of conversations about, 'What does this world they're building look like? And how can we call back to medieval architecture, and western looks, to set the brand new look of the show?' It was sort of like re-starting the whole look."
It helps that The Walking Dead Season Nine premiere has a director who has been with the series since its earliest day and, in fact, made his directorial debut with the zombie drama.
"And then of course, for the first episode, Greg Nicotero, whose been on the show since the start, and has been long-time collaborator of mine over the years," Kang said. "We talked a lot about the first episode, and how can we set this feel. We had deep deep conversations about everything from like, the way things would sound, to the way things would look and be framed. It was really just a team effort from everybody involved, pulling together to kind of grow, in the same direction, you know?"
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!