During an AMC press event Wednesday, The Walking Dead’s newest showrunner, Angela Kang, made her first public appearance since taking over the top job from Scott M. Gimple.
Kang takes over the flagship series at an interesting time given both the time jump and the pending departures of fan favorites Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie Rhee). The latter entered the broadcast pilot casting fray after a contract dispute with AMC. Her ABC drama, Whiskey Cavalier, was picked up to series for midseason with Cohan slated to appear in six episodes of the first half of season nine. Lincoln, meanwhile, sources say, has a similar exit strategy planned as AMC is working to finalize a $20 million annual deal to make Norman Reedus (Daryl) the new No. 1 on the show’s call sheet. Both Lincoln’s and Cohan’s characters remain alive and well — and the focal points — in Robert Kirkman’s ongoing Walking Dead comic series.
While Kang remained tight-lipped about the future of series stars Andrew Lincoln (Rick) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie), she did reveal one major detail to expect when the zombie drama returns in October.
“We’re playing with time in the season, so we get to jump forward in the story,” Kang said during a “Kick-Ass Women of AMC” panel. That comment confirmed that the AMC drama will follow the events of creator Robert Kirkman’s comic book series in which the narrative jumps forward two years following the end of the all-out war arc between Rick and Negan.
“We’re working on a season that has a really fresh look and feel,” she said. “We come in on some pretty fun stuff. I’m really focusing a lot on the core character relationships in the show that have kind of been long-lasting, as well as all of our wonderful series regulars.”
The Walking Dead returns in October. A formal premiere date and trailer will be announced at San Diego Comic-Con.