Looks like Fox Brasil (Fox airs the series in that country) isn't letting The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment have all the fun, releasing (and then removing) what looks to be the first "official" promo art for the AMC series' upcoming ninth season. In what looks to be the first in a series of promo images for the series leading up to this year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, the artwork depicts a short-haired Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) in front of what appears to be a White House and capital building in ruins from post-zombie-apocalypse neglect (what with cleaning services being tough to find and such). The imagery fits earlier reports that season 9 would feature a number of the main characters travelling out beyond the Hilltop and Alexandria.
This just adds to a week that brought us some interesting updates and teases. Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment got Dead fans' brains working overtime with a single, five-word tweet that might make some friendly-neighborhood conspiracy theorists out there consider an extra layer of tinfoil:
And here's a look at what we learned from Skybound's most recent "mailbag" about the upcoming season:
● As we've seen online from set pics, Maggie is definitely putting Georgie's (Jayne Atkinsonre) building plans to good use but not all of the communities will be back up and running when the series returns — and some will experience more growth than others.
● While there will be a much greater emphasis on rebuilding and societal conflict in season 9 as opposed to what we've seen the previous two seasons, it also looks like a number of main characters will be travelling a lot more next season.
● Rick will "face a lot of challenges" in what's expected to be the actor's final season, and that the resentment Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus (Tom Payne) feel towards his decision to spare Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) will "cause problems" for Rick.
● The television version of King Ezekiel will continue diverging from his comic book counterpart in the ninth season; though some similarities will remain, viewers should be prepared to for "some surprises."
● We also got some ominous-sounding teaser responses to several topics, including: what's going on with Maggie's baby ("You'll see."); Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Enid (Katelyn Nacon) spending more screen time together ("In a way, yes."); who helps Jadis-now-Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) transition to the new community ("Father Gabriel, surprisingly enough. And let's get in the habit of referring to Jadis by her given name, Anne."); and will we find learn more about the mysterious helicopter ("You absolutely will.").
● When asked for a hint about the upcoming season, "time" was the one-word response that looks to play an important role in the big storylines.
● Finally, if The Walking Dead Season 9 was a song then it would be a mashup of 'Brand New Day' by Morrison; 'Just Like Starting Over' by John Lennon; and "Live and Let Die" by Guns 'N Roses — so start analyzing those lyrics now before The Walking Dead's anticipated October 2018 return to AMC.
Fans will also be expecting clues about the futures of both The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead when both series return to this year's San Diego's Comic-Con International on Friday, July 20, in Hall H: from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (Fear the Walking Dead); and from 12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. (The Walking Dead).