AMC’s zombie horror series is jumping forward and looking back both at once in season 9. The Walking Dead has experienced a decline in recent years, with a significant drop in viewership (despite it still remaining amongst the top in cable ratings), and it looks like it’s all culminating in a disastrous way with the rumoured departures of a couple of its biggest stars.
While AMC has yet to address the exits of Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen, who play series lead Rick Grimes and Maggie Greene respectively, incoming showrunner Angela Kang has confirmed during the AMC Summit in New York that the series will mimic its source material with a time-jump following season 8’s conclusion of All Out War.
“What’s really fun for me is we’re working on a season that has a really fresh look and feel… we’re playing with time in the story, we’re jumping forward in time,” said Kang, who has served as a writer on the series since season 2.
The jump is unsurprising, given that the same thing happened in the comic book series following the war with Negan. In Robert Kirkman’s series, the story jumps two years from Rick’s victory over Negan to reveal a thriving community deep into the post-apocalypse. Of course, the time jump is the only confirmation we’ve had from AMC, which has remained tight-lipped on Lincoln and Cohen’s departures. Recent reports tell us that Jon Bernthal’s Shane Walsh, who died at the end of season 2, will be back in some capacity.
The series has shown a penchant for jumping back and forward in time, and never does it shy away from hallucinatory imagery (think Tyrese’s death back in season 5). We can only guess that Shane’s return will somehow tie into Rick’s story coming to a close. Hopefully Rick’s role as the main protagonist concludes in a satisfying and resolute way, and the time skip offers a natural way to wind down Lincoln’s time on the show.