The Walking Dead is preparing for a life after Rick Grimes, as both actor Andrew Lincoln and comic creator Robert Kirkman confirmed this week at San Diego Comic-Con that the show’s season 9 will be Lincoln’s last. Now, at The Walking Dead’s official Comic-Con panel today, AMC has released the first trailer for season 9 and confirmed an October 7th, 2018 premiere date.
Season 9 takes place after the “All Out War” saga of Kirkman’s comic, and it will be the first season in more than four years that showrunner Scott Gimple will not be in charge. Long-time writer and story editor Angela Kang will be taking over as Gimple assumes the chief content officer role of the expanding franchise, which includes Fear the Walking Dead and a number of spinoff media properties.
In the lengthy trailer, coming in at nearly six minutes, we can already start to see the season’s clear conflicts come into focus. Rick is now the leader of a sprawling, multi-community settlement of survivors that’s thriving with trade networks in place and in the absence of sustained armed conflict. But the lack of coherent and systemized law and order in the aftermath of the Saviors war and the sparing of Negan’s life has left Maggie and Daryl discontent.
Already, it seems like a clash of ideals will drive apart the peaceful vision Rick has for humanity’s rebuilding. The trailer also teases the next big chapter in Kirkman’s comic — the war with a clan of cult-like survivors called the Whisperers who cover themselves in zombie guts — and shows Rick conversing with Negan in his prison cell, a role the comics gave to Carl Grimes. Given actor Chandler Riggs’ surprise departure from the show last season — an unexpected move that broke with its source material in a big way — it seems like Rick will now assume more of the responsibilities his son inherited in the comic.