The Walking Dead season 9 is going to ring in a lot of changes for the long-running AMC zombie drama. Not least the fact that Andrew Lincoln’s bowing out of the lead role as Rick Grimes, leaving much speculation about how the show will progress without him. Putting that aside for a moment, though, and season 9 will also make use of a time jump to give things a whole new feel.
The rejuvenation of the series is all due to incoming showrunner Angela Kang, who’s taking over the reins from Scott M. Gimple. And one cast member who’s a massive fan of what Kang’s doing is Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite Daryl Dixon. The actor opened up to MTV while attending San Diego Comic-Con and revealed that Kang has always been his number one TWD writer and he couldn’t be more thrilled the show has a woman in charge now.
“She’s always been my favorite writer on the show, I’ve said it since she showed up. But I mean, it’s a train that’s being driven by women.”
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For Reedus, Kang’s brought a new depth to The Walking Dead, giving the actors the chance to grapple with very different arcs and emotions for their characters. The star explained that, in contrast to the battle against the Saviors last season, the new run will focus on internal conflicts that make for stronger, more intense drama.
“The stories have more depth, this All Out War thing is not happening anymore, it’s internal. I’ve done scenes this season that I’m more proud of than I’ve done in five years. Our crew, I’ve seen [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] do scenes that are completely different than the Negan you’re used to, that are great, every single cast member has had different types of things to do, and I think they’ve been waiting to flip a switch and kind of twist their mojo in a different direction, and I think it’s happening this year. Our crew is like super excited, and they’re out there 18 hours a day in the hot sun, and they’re super jazzed.”
Reedus then went on to say how the time jump has allowed season 9 to go for a Western sort of feel that’s given it a whole new atmosphere, explaining:
“It’s a different show. You’re gonna love this season. I know we come here every year and we say the show is better than it was last year, but it’s true this time.”
Jeffrey Dean Morgan was also with Reedus in the interview and added that Andrew Lincoln told him that not only is season 9 better than season 8 but he believes it’s as good as the show’s ever been since The Walking Dead‘s very first episode.
“I think where the show has gone, storytelling wise, is stronger than ever. Even Andy’s like, ‘This is the best season we’ve had since I shot the pilot.’ That kind of feel. It just has a different feel, it’s a new world.”
Reedus and Morgan are definitely laying the praise on thick here for season 9. Most fans would agree that The Walking Dead could do with a boost in quality, too, so hopefully the hype will prove warranted when the show returns to AMC on October 7th.