UPDATE: Earlier today, a picture surfaced online that was reported to be an official image from The Walking Dead Season 9, and it was quickly taken down. Following the writing of this story, AMC officially released the full, expanded image below, which features two more characters and a look at the theory-raising helicopter last seen in Season 8.
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Fans have been hungrier than a pack of Walkers for more details on The Walking Dead Season 9, and that's only intensified since news broke about Andrew Lincoln leaving the series. A social media site for a Fox network in Brazil might've unwittingly thrown fans a bone and made their wish come true as an Instagram post possibly revealed the first look at Season 9.
Fortunately, nothing is ever truly gone on the internet, and The Walking Dead fans who were instantly aware something was up with the post screengrabbed and saved it it for the world to scrutinize and analyze. There's certainly a lot to say about the leaked image that has Rick with a new hairdo and in a potentially new location with Maggie, Daryl, and no one else in the show:
The government building in the background is the most interesting reveal in this potentially legit photo, as that building looks to be a dilapidated version of the U.S. Capitol Building. The imagery is certainly in line with past reveals and leaks from The Walking Dead Season 9, and FoxappBrasil's hashtag use promoting San Diego Comic-Con 2018 helps the belief that this photo (via Comicbook) may be from leaked promotional footage that was embargoed until the convention. That said there's always the chance this photo is a completely bogus photoshop, and there's almost as much evidence supporting that as there is this is an official image.
For example, why are Rick, Maggie, and Daryl all separate from the rest of The Walking Dead cast? Michonne and Carol would've been great additions to this poster at the very least, and there are certainly a few others that deserve inclusion as well. Mega shots of the cast are pretty standard, so the fact that this photo only highlighted three of the show's cast members makes it slightly suspect. That said, this could be one part of a larger set of pictures that show the entire cast split and in different scenarios, which wouldn't be unheard of.
Rick's short hair is certainly the wildcard in this whole thing, as it could be used as an argument for either side to justify this image from The Walking Dead is real or fake. Rick Grimes and hair that short haven't mixed throughout the show's history, so this very well could be a legitimate new photo giving fans a sneak peek at Rick's new look. Of course, skilled Photoshop users are capable of many things, and while a hairstyle redesign may be time-consuming, wouldn't it be exactly the type of detail that would convince a television network it was a legit press image? There's also the fact that a lot of Rick's hair is just out of frame, which means it could still be there, fans just don't see it.
Fans will know all sooner than later as CinemaBlend will have more details regarding Season 9 of The Walking Dead in our coverage from San Diego Comic-Con 2018. Folks can stay tuned for that, or drop off the grid and just wait for The Walking Dead to return to AMC this fall Sundays at 9:00 p.m. ET. For a look at television to watch until then, visit our summer premiere guide.