The Walking Dead showrunner teases the final moments of Sunday's Season Nine closer will "once again change everything" for heroes Daryl (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Carol (Melissa McBride). The episode, which shows for the first time the survivors braving a ferocious blizzard, will continue to set the stage for Season Ten as Team Family becomes further entrenched in the battle against Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.
"Since this was the year we'd meet the Whisperers — who have adopted an animalistic, anti-civilization, 'survival of the fittest' philosophy — we paired that with seeing more stories about how environmental obstacles and the breakdown of man-made infrastructure have affected our characters," Angela Kang shared with Deadline.
"Then I wanted to push that past the limits of what we've done on the show before, so in the finale: winter is coming. And then in Season 10, the conflict with the Whisperers will amp up in terrifying and hopefully surprising ways, and we'll also discover something related to the last scene of this season, which I won't spoil, that will once again change everything for our heroes!"
Kang, who earlier previewed Season Ten when appearing at PaleyFest in Los Angeles over the weekend, noted "there are certain character arcs, certainly, that have a bit of a closed end to them" when The Walking Dead reaches its Season Nine finale "The Storm," which follows the survivors on a dangerous mission that forces them to cross into the territory claimed by the Whisperers with a ghastly border comprised of decapitated heads. "It will feel like part of a chapter in a character's journey, if that makes sense."
The Walking Dead will also undergo another time jump of several months, as evidenced by finale photos showing Rosita (Christian Serratos) further along in her pregnancy and King Ezekiel's (Khary Payton) revelation that the Kingdom has shuttered.
If the culling of the survivors wasn't enough — bringing on the graphic deaths of Henry (Matt Lintz), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), and Tara (Alanna Masterson) — Kang warned the finale takes "a little bit of a left turn" before going into Season Ten, due out this October. This upcoming season will be the last for Gurira and is anticipated to reveal more Alpha and Beta (Ryan Hurst) backstory, as well as bring about the limited return of Hilltop leader Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
The Walking Dead Season Nine finale premieres Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
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