Watch The First Four Minutes Of The Walking Dead Season 9

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With just two weeks to go until the ninth season of The Walking Dead airs, the show’s decided to crank up the hype meter another notch by releasing the opening four (and a bit) minutes of the first episode.

Entitled “A New Beginning,” this clip from the premiere is suspiciously bucolic and peaceful, apparently showing a calm, friendly and sustainable community without a hint of the bloody, sadomasochistic, nightmare violence that fans crave. Even the Walkers don’t seem as much of a threat as usual, with the characters rather blasé about killing the undead – to the point of making casual small-talk as they impale one.

The closing minutes of the footage, meanwhile, show Rick and his team at their best, moving on horseback through Washington, D.C. and taking out Walkers as they go. There’s a real frontier vibe to this wagon train, together with the notion that some kind of civilization might be reforming after the apocalyptic events of the last few seasons.

But above all this, fans will know that dark times lie ahead. This is going to be the final season for Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes (though he’s returning to direct an episode of the tenth season), and while we don’t know whether he’s going to get a happy ending or not, characters tend to leave this show in pretty permanent ways. Beyond that’s the simple fact that AMC’s aiming for another “decade plus” of The Walking Dead, a fact that indicates that whatever happiness and security these folks have painstakingly assembled is inevitably going to be brutally smashed at some point pretty soon.

After a slightly shaky eighth season that saw ratings fall, the network will be eager for the ninth to bring back viewers who might have departed for pastures anew. And if this brief look into what’s to come proves anything, it’s that the show still has the zombie-killin’ goods.

The Walking Dead season 9 premieres on AMC on 7th October.

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