The times, they are a-changing for the folks on The Walking Dead. Following season 8, the season 9 premiere jumped forward 18 months. Then, once Andrew Lincoln left as Rick Grimes in episode 6, things fast-forwarded again, this time by a more substantial six years. That’s a lot of time that’s left unexplored in the survivors’ lives, with fans having many questions that they want answered.
The good news is that showrunner Angela Kang confirmed to EW that flashbacks that cover the time jump will definitely occur in the back half of season 9. The EP seemed to not want to say too much, but promised that the device will at least be used more than once to fill in certain characters’ backstories.
“We’ll see. It will be used, I’ll say, it’s more than once. It’s a little different each time. It’s something that tells specific pieces of backstory that I think are useful to understanding who some of our characters are and why they’re at where they’re at.”
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The Walking Dead‘s Tom Payne has previously suggested that he could return via flashbacks, after his character Jesus was killed by a Whisperer in the midseason finale. Kang wasn’t going to reveal something like that in her chat with EW, but instead she did talk a little bit about how yet another leader of the Hilltop leaving the community would affect them – in particular, Tara.
“The people at Hilltop have really had to deal with a lot of instability in their leadership. Fortunately, there’s Tara, who has been helping Jesus. She finds herself thrust into this surprising leadership role, as well as you find that there are other characters that are there such as Daryl, who wounds up there because he’s the guardian of Henry. He was the person that wanted nothing to do with leadership and had tried to step away from all of that, but finds himself in the middle of this dilemma that the Hilltop is dealing with because the Hilltop finds themselves right in the crosshairs of The Whisperer story as it unfolds.”
As Kang reminds us, the Whisperers will be the focus of the show moving forward, as the survivors have just discovered the existence of this hostile community that likes to blend into walker herds and seems to have murderous intentions towards them. Perhaps we’ll get some flashbacks covering the Whisperers themselves as well, explaining how they got this way.
We’ll find out when The Walking Dead season 9 returns to AMC on Sunday, February 10th.