'The Walking Dead' Season 9 Brings "Sophistication," Higher Stakes

The Walking Dead season 9 will bring "sophistication" along with higher stakes, executive producer Scott Gimple tells TV Line.

The former showrunner, whose four season tenure came to an end with the season 8 finale, has handed the keys to successor Angela Kang, who "has it under lock," Gimple says.

The writer-producer has been with the zombie drama since its second season in 2011, and Gimple, newly appointed Chief Content Officer of the entire Walking Dead brand for AMC, is "enjoying seeing it come together," he adds.

With the survivors' war against Negan and the Saviors ended in victory, Rick Grimes and his closest allies are poised for a new world — but peacetime won't come free of its own challenges.

"The conclusion of that conflict in some ways was the conclusion of a certain way of life they were following," Gimple says, and that idyllic new world, inspired by a dying Carl Grimes, "is a very ambitious dream to put together. It's enormous, in fact."

"It requires cooperation, and the stakes are much, much higher," he continues. "That leads to very different types of stories and different sorts of conflicts."

That new status quo, and the new leadership under Kang, could have The Walking Dead feeling like a different kind of show in its ninth year.

"Sort of a sophistication comes into play," Gimple says. "It's going to be a very, very different season with a very, very different drive."

The end of The Walking Dead season 8 brought a sense of closure, paving the way for a much-needed refresher as the show will evolve heading into season 9, Gimple said on live after show Talking Dead.

Not only will the united communities of survivors be "facing different problems with each other," Gimple said, "the world itself will be very, very different."

Gimple has high praise for the newly appointed showrunner, teasing Kang is "putting different things forward that we haven't seen before."

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This new world could find Rick Grimes come into conflict with his closest allies, including Daryl and Hilltop leader Maggie, who are none too pleased with Rick's lone decision to allow Negan to live and instead keep him prisoner.

The Walking Dead is expected to return to AMC with its season 9 premiere this fall.