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In The Meantime | THE WALKING DEAD Shake-Ups Coming

Television’s most critically acclaimed and highest rated drama is striving for major changes entering into THE WALKING DEAD Season 9 including some major casts members signing-off, and the return of past players!

Without a doubt, the most anticipated moment every year at San Diego Comic-Con has been the arrival of the cast of The Walking Dead for their panel cluing in die-hard fans on how the series is taking shape in the upcoming season. Early announcements have already caused some seismic shifts in what we can expect in Season 9 of the series especially after reports were circulated confirming major casts members will be leaving, and at least one past fan favorite would be returning to the series.

When it was announced that series regular Lauren Cohan who has played Maggie Greene-Rhee  since our heroes stumbled onto her father’s farm in Season 2, would only be around for half of Season 9, fans were immediately struck by how that would impact the overall direction for the upcoming new season given the cliffhanger that would suggest Maggie would have a significant stake in the narrative. It has been suggested that the new leader of the Hilltop community would be exacting a revenge vendetta that would have serious consequences.

Her character easily emerged as one of the series most colorful and especially most dedicated to providing the fire to survive in the post-apocalyptic nightmare our heroes have found themselves in week after week. After losing her husband Glenn (Steven Yeun) to the complicated and ruthless  antagonist Negan played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Thomas Wayne to her Martha in BvS: Dawn of Justice) Maggie emerged a deliberate force all of her own. The actress has reportedly signed on to reprise her role for only 8 episodes in Season 9, that’s usually the first-half of the season.

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Khary Payton as Ezekiel  – The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Hanging Up His Hat

Maggie won’t be only player next season that has decided to exit the series, though the announcement that Andrew Lincoln who introduced audiences into this world as the often-heroic Rick Grimes came as a complete shock to fans. The Walking Dead has been mostly told through the eyes of Lincoln’s character, and after perhaps the most difficult and challenging last two seasons, it appears that it may have taken a toll on our hero. In Season 8 fans were shocked with Chandler Riggs who play Rick’s son Carl was unceremoniously killed off.

How Season 9 will play out with Grime’s exiting the narrative will remain to be seen. At the conclusion of Season 8, Rick decided not to kill Negan, so will Negan take his place as the centrifugal force next year, or is this perhaps a sign that The Walking Dead as a series is preparing to head itself into the sunset and wrap-up it’s nearly decade long story? It wouldn’t be the end of the franchise seeing as how the spin-off Fear the Walking Dead has recruited Lennie James’ Morgan Jones into its midst and (SPOILER ALERT) killed off two of its original lead cast mates.

One thing is for certain, given the nature of The Walking Dead to have provided its core fans with some of the biggest twists and surprises over the years, Season 9 will emerge the most watched yet, as these significant cast changes will undoubtedly affect the series’ direction. In another surprise announcement Jon Bernthal who starred in the first two seasons as Shane Walsh has reportedly been seen on set, and will have an arc in Season 9. The actor’s star turn on Marvel’s The Punisher on Netflix prevents from appearing as a regular in two series at the same time.

Running the Show

The series will also be landing a brand new showrunner for Season 9 with ComicBook.com having reported that Angela Kang will be assuming that inevitably huge responsibility, and with AMC not commenting on or indicating plans to end the series when the cast and creators attend this year’s SDCC it will certainly draw huge crowds curious about the fate of its favorite characters, as well as anticipating the return of others. This year’s SDCC event will take place July 19 – 22 as the fandom descends on the summer’s biggest comic book festival and convention.

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