The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang has revealed an easy-to-miss Easter egg tied to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), who had a presence when Michonne (Danai Gurira) signed the once-abandon charter officially uniting the Alexandria, Hilltop, Kingdom, and Oceanside communities.
"One of the aspects of the season that I'm so proud of and never really get to talk about is the score," Kang told CinemaBlend.
"Our composer Bear McCreary is absolutely brilliant. ... There are so many musical cues I could rave about, but one example of something I love is he wrote a gorgeous theme for the premiere episode that plays over the opening scenes of the teaser. I'd wanted to establish a hopeful, Western feel at the top of the season, and I thought he captured that so perfectly with this lovely fiddle solo. He built upon and riffed on that theme in subsequent episodes, always tied very closely to Rick and his drive to create the future that Carl (Chandler Riggs) envisioned."
But when Rick disappeared — he appeared to die when making a last stand against a horde of walkers, exploding the bridge to protect the communities — that musical identity disappeared with him. A six-year time skip followed, and the New Beginning theme re-emerged when Michonne, who had isolated both herself and Alexandria in the wake of a terrible trauma, returned to the charter she drafted and, in turn, the dream championed by Carl and Rick.
"That theme disappeared for a long time after the six-year time jump, but astute viewers may have recognized that it finally came back when the community leaders signed Michonne's charter in 'The Calm Before,'" Kang said. "I loved that, musically speaking, Rick was in the room for that scene."
Kang said McCreary, who has served as composer on the series since its 2010 start, is an "incredible creative partner." The Emmy-winning composer also developed eerie new tracks to accompany killer new threat the Whisperers, including a particularly menacing theme for Beta (Ryan Hurst).
"I can't say enough about I how much I love the Whisperers' theme," Kang added. "It's so simple and terrifying, and all the variations Bear has played on it throughout the back half have been so cool (like doing a low bass version for Beta). He's a wizard and I'm so grateful that I get to work with him!"
Lincoln next returns across a series of Walking Dead television movies, the first of which is anticipated to arrive in 2020. The Walking Dead Season Nine comes to a close Sunday, March 31 at 9/8c on AMC.
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