Rick got a haircut in season 9 of The Walking Dead
Photo: AMC

There’s a lot of things in flux for AMC’s The Walking Dead, which premieres in October. Sure, on the show, Negan has been defeated, and it looks like the survivors will finally live in peace. Spoiler: As the new Comic-Con trailer reveals, they won’t. But the real drama is behind the scenes.

“It seems there’s elephant in the room at Comic-Con,” lead actor Andrew Lincoln said at the start of the Hall H panel. “This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes. I love this show. It means everything to me. I love the people who make this show. I promise not to cry. I’m particularly fond of the people who watch the show. It’s been the most extraordinary experience of my career largely because of you guys. The relationship we have here in this room, in rooms everywhere really. I want to thank you...but my relationship with Rick is far from over. Part of me will always be a...zombie slayer from England. I’m excited by this season. Two of the episodes are my favorite since the pilot. But no one is bigger than the story and the story this year is unbelievable.”

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Well, with that out of the way.

“The first eight seasons were one chapter,” executive producer Scott M. Gimple said. “This is a new beginning, it’s a whole new show in some ways. We had two years of all-out war and this couldn’t be more different.”

How? Well Michonne herself, Danai Gurira, put a finer point on it. She spoke about the questions of how to restart a world and a society. “How do you create a community? How are laws put down? How do you build the foundation of what we take for granted now,” she said. But, “people are on different pages about how to move forward... not everyone wants to be civilized.”

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Much love was also heaped on this season’s new showrunner —the series’ fourth—long-time writer and executive producer Angela Kang. Norman Reedus said she has always been his favorite writer on the show. Producer Gale Anne Hurd called her “visionary.” And while Kang was great at teasing what’s to come, unfortunately, she wasn’t able to comment on some the other rumors. “There’ve been some other announcements other places but I can’t talk about those,” she said.

Series creator Robert Kirkman did confirm, however, that actress Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts, Minority Report) will join the show playing Alpha, a very important character from the comics. That, of course, brings with it a huge other series of potential stories. Also, Gimple said this season will explore the past, present, and future of The Walking Dead world. Which could explain a few things.

But basically, now that the war is over, things are changing. They’re getting better. Time has passed. Maggie had the baby. Finally, maybe, society can return. “This is the show I always thought we’d get to from the pilot,” Lincoln said.

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As the panel wrapped up, the entire cast and audience of Hall H rose to give Lincoln a standing ovation.

The Walking Dead returns on October 7.