The Walking Dead ReturnsAugust 27, 2018
9 years is roughly 3285 days; that’s more or less how long The Walking Dead has lived on the small screen as a TV. It started out humbly, with a short, six-episode introductory season that brought viewers into the world Robert Kirkman created in the comic books…but since then, The Walking Dead has become a media juggernaut matched by few, if any, properties (Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe being the possible the exceptions.)
This may contain spoilers for Season 9 of The Walking Dead.
[Img courtesy of castbox.fm]
You’ve been warned.
Despite persistent upheaval, including characters coming back to the show, leaving the show, or dying, one of the few The Walking Dead constants has been Rick Grimes; through it all he has been a leader, a voice of conscience in a dark world, a monster, and a grieving father and husband.
It was publicly announced by the creative team some months ago that Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead.
The announcement comes as a shock given how closely the show keeps these types of developments a guarded secret, but the creative team feared fan’s devastation were the news to leak early, and therefore made the decision to pre-empt such a possibility.
Lincoln’s departure begs the question (which was asked repeatedly, and in different ways at San Diego Comic Con, always in the hope of letting some small detail slip):
can you leave The Walking Dead without your character dying?
Andrew Lincoln replied cagily, “Yes, Lennie James is a perfect example of leaving the show without dying. But…” Lincoln paused for effect, “then there’s the other way,” he quipped, suggesting death is certainly not off the table for Rick.
Lincoln was honest about the mixed emotions he felt about his depature saying, “it’s been 9 years. But it had a lot to do with a conversation I had with Scott…how do you complete something that will never be completed? [Leaving] is something I started thinking about as my children got older, and less portable.”
Rick’s departure isn’t the only change for season 9. The Walking Dead has switched showrunners, with Angela Kang, taking over for Scott M. Gimple, who stays on an executive producer.
“Honestly, it’s a whole new world. It’s [still] the show you know,” said Kang before Greg Nicotero chimed in, “watch the trailer sixty times, we gave you a ton of information about where things are…”
Season 9 promises “a lot more screen time for some of the relationships, with a lot of emotional weight behind them. This season will be an exciting opportunity to deepen these relationships.”
Ultimately, season 9 seems like it may rest on one fundamental question: how do you rebuild civilization?
For those hoping Rick’s departure may not be real, prepare to be disappointed: “this is not a hallucination. The season is fully real.”
You can watch Rick’s swansong when new episodes of The Walking Dead return this fall on AMC in Canada and the United States.