THE WALKING DEAD (Hall H – Friday) – In my first panel of Day 2 for the AMC zombie drama The Walking Dead, Andrew Lincoln confirmed all the reports: good ol’ Rick is leaving the show in the ninth season, premiering Oct. 7.
“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes. I love this show, it means everything to me. I promise not to cry –- I’ve done enough crying onscreen… I’m particularly fond of the people who watch this show. This has been the most extraordinary, beautiful experience of my career, mostly because of you guys,” explained Lincoln. “I don’t want to turn this into an Oscar acceptance speech or an obituary. We’re deeply proud of the work we’ve done this season.”
After Lincoln’s goodbyes, AMC debuted the trailer for the new season which reveals a time jump has happened. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has finally had her baby, and bat-wielding psycho Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is being kept in a jail by Rick.
This time jump allows the producers to play with the deconstruction and decay of the world– a world where horses are more readily available over bullets. In one scene from the trailer you can see the team trying to save a covered wagon from a museum. TWD has went Old West! Fan favorite Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, says Walking Dead “feels like a frickin’ Western this year; it’s great.”
Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) joins the cast as Alpha, a character from the comic books, and Lincoln will showcase a fresh look in his final season: a gray beard and a short haircut. “He’s been through a lot of stresses and strains,” Lincoln said. “He’s had a tough time, so he has a tough haircut. My horse really likes my hair, even though other people don’t.”
He blames a crew member who told Lincoln he looked like a country singer. “And I said, ‘Rick Grimes never looks like a country singer. Get the buzz cut out.'” Appears like the showrunners have clipped just more than hair; this season looks better than the last, as a time jump may be exactly what The Walking Dead needed. 4/5 Zombies Agree!