A look at The Walking Dead season 9 crew apparel reaffirms the upcoming season will follow the main course set by Robert Kirkman's ongoing comic book series and adapt Volume 22: A New Beginning.
The photo, shared by The Walking Dead's official Instagram account, shows a hat bearing "The Walking Dead season 9 crew" insignia and a welcome message from newly minted showrunner Angela Kang.
"Welcome to Season 9," the message reads. "Here's to a great year ahead and 'A New Beginning.'"
In the comic book, A New Beginning started with The Walking Dead #127, picking up roughly two years after the events of the conclusion of All Out War in #126.
That issue saw Alexandrian leader Rick Grimes defeat and incapacitate Savior leader Negan, calling for peace on both sides.
Similar events occurred in The Walking Dead's season 8 finale, which concluded the long-running war and ended with Rick and the united communities committed to working towards "the new world."
Issue #127 reintroduced a lush and thriving Alexandria — similar to the visions hoped for by a dying Carl Grimes in the television series — and introduced a slew of new survivors to its pages, including Magna, Yumiko, Annie, Connie, Luke, Kelly, and Siddiq, many of whom are still alive as of issue #179.
Girlfriends Magna and Yumiko were confirmed by a casting report earlier this month. Their comic book counterparts integrate into Alexandria and play prominent roles in the future conflict with the groups' new major threat — a pack of savage nomads known as the Whisperers.
Season 9 went in front of the cameras at the start of May, with set photos bringing fans their first look at their favorite characters — many of which have been dramatically re-imagined for the new season, appearing to confirm the time jump.
Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes can be spotted an overhauled look with short hair and a full but trimmed beard, a look similar to an almost unrecognizable Aaron (Ross Marquand). Also seen in the photos is a much different looking Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam), who seems to have suffered a permanent loss following his severe illness in season 8.
Also spotted in the photos are returning series stars Michonne (Danai Gurira), King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Carol (Melissa McBride), manbun Jesus (Tom Payne), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
Seen alongside the longtime survivors are Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh), formerly "Jadis," Oceanside leader Cyndie (Sydney Park), and freshly promoted series regulars Siddiq (Avi Nash) and Alden (Callan McAuliffe).
Former showrunner Scott Gimple, now chief content officer for The Walking Dead brand on AMC, told TV Line season 9 will be a "very, very different season, with a very, very different drive."
Kang's direction for the series post-war will mirror the comics as it saw the survivors, rebuilt and thriving, take aim towards renewing civilization.1comments
"From the things said in the finale, there's a bigger ambition now, a bigger thing that they're chasing," Gimple said. "It isn't just regular, everyday survival, which they've become quite adept at. It's what to do with that. Now they're going after civilization."
The Walking Dead season 9 debuts this fall on AMC.