Believe it or not, but Andrew Lincoln's departure from The Walking Dead wasn't even the most surprising thing to happen in this weekend's episode. As the show began its final scene, something was apparent — the show had taking time jump into the future.
While the show has experimented with time jumps before, never have they done one this large — which has since been confirmed to be six years into the future.
Earlier today, AMC released promo images featuring the ensemble cast of characters after the six-year time jump and although most of the characters remain the same — several have completely new looks. Carol (Melissa McBridge) has flowing long grey hair while Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan is starting to get much more of a salt-and-pepper look in his beard.
Also of note is the much-older Judith Grimes, who will now be played by Star Wars: The Force Awakens alum Cailey Fleming.
All of the stills AMC released can be seen in the gallery below.
Speaking with EW, The Walking Dead producer Scott Gimplediscussed the time jump in detail.
"I don't know, that's fascinating," Gimple began. "For fans of the comic, the end of episode 905, they're like, 'Oh, this is The New Beginning,' meaning the storyline in the comic. I mean, we see Magna, and Yumiko, and their group, and that was the beginning of The New Beginning storyline in the comics."
Gimple went on to compare this six-year time jump to the much smaller jump that happened prior to this season.0comments
"The last time jump was a jump, but it wasn't a huge amount of time. This jump is that quantum leap forward from the comic, and it's a whole new world. It was important to, especially after "All Out War," get some distance from that story, and be in a whole new reality for Rick and the group. But that was an incredibly dramatic overture to "The New Beginning" that we saw in the comic, which is one of the terrific arcs of the comic."And it was so surprising, and so intense, and so new. I loved that. I was so thrilled that Angela, Matt, and the writers came upon that for 9.05 — to see Rick's legacy, and even Carl's legacy in action in that episode. I think it was unexpected. When it was pitched to me, I was like, 'Holy crap. That is it. That is so definitely it.' It got me excited."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.