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the walking dead michonne rick group season 8 finale amc

The Walking Dead has been developing the zombie apocalypse for the better part of a decade now, but Season 9 won't just be business as usual thanks to a big switch behind the scenes. Previous showrunner Scott M. Gimple is stepping down, and longtime Walking Dead writer and executive producer Angela Kang is stepping into the top job. We're still months away from the Season 9 premiere, so details are still relatively scarce about what to expect. Still, Kang has spoken out about some of what to expect when The Walking Dead returns to the airwaves in the fall:

What's really fun for me is we're working on a season that has a really fresh look and feel... We're playing with time in the story, we're jumping forward in time.

A time jump between Seasons 8 and 9 of The Walking Dead has been rumored and hinted at for a while, and now new showrunner Angela Kang has confirmed that the story will be moving forward in time for the ninth season. The time jump was teased in a big way back in April thanks to a tweet from The Walking Dead set that showed the Hilltop with some big additions that would really only work if a chunk of time had passed to allow for construction.

A time jump actually makes a lot of sense, given some of Scott Gimple's comments at the end of Season 8. At the time, Gimple revealed that he, Angela Kang, and writers considered the Season 8 finale to be "sort of the conclusion of the first eight seasons" and the show will be something new starting in Season 9. Kang will get a fresh start as she takes over as showrunner, and it should be interesting to see what she does differently than those who came before her.

Angela Kang also commented on how The Walking Dead writes its female characters during the Kick-Ass Women of AMC panel at the first-ever AMC Summit, saying this:

Our characters they're women - they go toe to toe with the men. We don't write damsels in distress. Or sometimes if they are the men are males in distress. The women save the men just as much as the men save the women. It's really a story about survivors who help each other through the apocalypse.

Zombies aren't particular about chomping women vs. chomping men, so there's a sort of bizarre gender equality to certain aspects of The Walking Dead's zombie apocalypse. That's not to say that the women of that world don't suffer in some particularly awful ways, as we saw with Maggie and the Governor back in Season 3, Beth at the hospital in Season 5, Sasha at the Sanctuary in Season 7, and Negan's "wives" more recently. Still, the ladies can kick ass, take names, and stab the brains out of walkers as well as the men on The Walking Dead.

It should be interesting to see how Season 9 handles the major female characters, especially considering Maggie and Michonne are likely going to be at odds due to their differing opinions of Rick as of the end of Season 8. Angela Kang also chatted at the panel about how she never thought she'd end up with a job like showrunner on one of the biggest shows on TV:

When I was a kid, I didn't think this was a job I could have. I didn't think there were Asian women who could run the show, that wasn't a thing. Now, there are so many more women who are showrunners and that's exciting. It means the next generation can and go - hey of course this is a job I can have.

Angela Kang's tenure as The Walking Dead showrunner kicks off when the show returns to AMC for Season 9 in the fall. You can find zombie apocalypse on the airwaves a bit sooner with the midseason premiere of Fear the Walking Dead on Sunday, August 12 at 9 p.m. ET. For some viewing options ahead of Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead, check out our summer TV premiere schedule.