Massive changes will be in store for The Walking Dead in season nine, and not just in terms of departing cast-members.
New showrunner Angela Kang, who has taken over from Scott Gimple, has confirmed that the season will work with a new timeline.
“We’re playing with time in the season, so we get to jump forward in the story,” she confirmed while speaking at an AMC press event.
“We’re working on a season that has a really fresh look and feel. We come in on some pretty fun stuff. I’m really focusing a lot on the core character relationships in the show that have kind of been long-lasting, as well as all of our wonderful series regulars.”
‘Fun stuff’ isn’t the first thing that springs to mind when people think of The Walking Dead, and certainly not after the recent, most gruelling season of the show, which has seen audience numbers dwindle.
But it does confirm that the show will use the same storyline seen in Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, on which the show is based.
That storyline sees the action jumping forward by two whole years, following the brutal war between Rick Grimes and Negan, played by Andrew Lincoln and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the AMC series.
It follows news that Jon Bernthal, who played police officer Shane Walsh in the first two seasons of the show, will be returning for at least one episode in season nine, despite his character having been killed off.
And it also follows the more radical news that Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen are reportedly set to leave after ‘a handful’ of episodes of the next season.
It’s thought that Cohen is to quit following a breakdown in pay negotiations in which she had hoped to receive a salary more in line with her male co-stars.
While Kang did not confirm or deny the departures, it’s said that Norman Reedus, who plays show fave Daryl Dixon, has been offered millions to stay on and become the lead character after Lincoln leaves.
The new series will likely premiere in late October, before a mid-season break in mid-December, with it winding up in February 2019.