Going by the original comic books from creator Robert Kirkman, fans think they know what’s set to happen when The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season this fall. As season 8 wrapped up the “All-Out War” arc, with Negan and his Saviors defeated, it’s likely that the new run will borrow from the source material and feature a time jump of some kind.
The latest evidence that supports this theory comes from a baseball cap that’s been handed out to the crew of the hit AMC zombie drama. As shared on The Walking Dead‘s Instagram account, the interesting part of the headgear comes in the form of a message from Angela Kang, who recently took over as showrunner from Scott Gimple.
It reads: “Welcome to Season 9. Here’s to a great year ahead and ‘A New Beginning.’” See for yourself below…
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It just so happens that “A New Beginning” is the comic book arc that follows “All-Out War” and features a jump forward in time by about two years, checking in on Rick Grimes and his community as they’ve forged some kind of peace after freeing themselves from the Saviors’ subjugation. The fact that Kang uses the phrase here has to be a reference to the fact that season 9 will at least loosely adapt that storyline.
And we have to emphasize the term “loosely,” as season 9 is set to bring about some major changes to the series that have no precedent in the comics and instead, arise from actors’ availability. Both Lauren Cohan and Andrew Lincoln are set to leave The Walking Dead next year, with each of the long-running stars expected to only turn up for six episodes of the new season. That will no doubt be a big double whammy of a blow to fans, although – as Kang says – it will also represent a “new beginning” for the show, one that will hopefully go over smoothly.