As the ranks of the show's new Alexandria/Hilltop society and AMC's The Walking Dead continue to grow, the tensions simmering between Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) since his season 8-ending decision to spare Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) are starting to boil over. With Lincoln set to leave the series during the series' upcoming ninth season, AMC's newest teaser leaves viewers wondering: will his departure be a result of Maggie's machinations or Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers' deadly maneuverings – or will he pay the ultimate price for a tragically bad decision?
Because by the looks of things, Negan's sitting back and waiting for it all to fall apart…so he can "save" them for good.
Then there's the matter of this teaser from yesterday, which shows Rick sporting what could best be described as "Lucille 2.0" – possibly channeling his inner-Negan while also showing the former Saviors leader that everything around him is growing and evolving, even as he rots in a jail cell.
Last season brought the culmination of "All Out War," which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. With Negan's life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him. By making the unilateral decision to spare Negan, Rick upheld the values his late son, Carl, championed in order to build for the future, but created conflict within his group.
Now, we see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick's steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors.
As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build.
Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, "The Walking Dead" reigns the number one drama on television among adults 18-49 for the last six seasons. The series is executive produced by chief content officer Scott M. Gimple, showrunner Angela Kang, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero, Tom Luse and Denise Huth.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with new showrunner Angela Kang on Sunday, October 7th at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with an extended 86 minute ninth-season premiere.