The Walking Dead Showrunner Angela Kang Previews Rick’s Final Chapter

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There’s a major sea change about to occur on AMC’s The Walking Dead, and it’ll likely resonate for years to come… for better or worse.

We are, of course, referring to the departure of Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) who, just like his on-screen son Chandler Riggs (Carl) before him, is bracing for one last hurrah in the Walking Dead universe.

AMC is yet to divulge any details on Rick’s final chapter, but the general consensus appears to be that Andrew Lincoln will only appear in six episodes of the upcoming season, at which point he’ll hand over the baton to Norman Reedus, newfound leading man of The Walking Dead.

The finer details of said transition will likely remain under lock and key right up until the show’s return in October, but during an exhaustive chat with The Hollywood Reporter, newly-appointed showrunner Angela Kang touched base on Rick’s journey.

We started telling a story at the end of last season without Carl, and since there’s so many great characters on the show, different people will step up. It’ll never fill the exact gap that a character leaves but there are other people whose stories will come to the forefront in great ways. With Lauren, she has said that she would like to come back to the show and we would love to have her back; we think there’s more story with Maggie to tell. We already have some plans brewing that I think are pretty cool. So the world of The Walking Dead moves on with whoever we have at the moment. It’s what we’ve always done.

Kang picks up the reins from former showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who’s since taken on a new role overseeing the entire Walking Dead franchise. So even when one doesn’t consider the impending departure of Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead season 9 still heralds a bold new era for the AMC flagship.

And here, Angela Kang talks more about what’s in store for Andrew Lincoln’s fearless leader. You know, aside from that buzzcut.

Rick opens up the season in a place where things are relatively good and peaceful for him. He made that unexpected decision to let Negan live at the end of season eight, and we’ll deal with some of the after effects of that because it was such a momentous thing. And the trauma of losing his son Carl, even with the passage of time, is something that is still painful for him. We’re going to see him try to turn that pain into something positive for everybody. Rick will face some real challenges along the way. The thing that I hope the audience will respond to is seeing how Rick’s underlying goodness and leadership will shine in moments of great adversity.

The Walking Dead season 9 returns this October with a premiere date (and first-look trailer!) expected to be rolled out during San Diego Comic-Con next week.

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