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By the end of Season 8, The Walking Dead was beginning to feel like it had covered an awful lot of what the zombie apocalypse has to offer, but the new showrunner for Season 9 has already revealed a way that the show will finally explore one of the biggest and most obvious challenges of the zombie apocalypse that has really only been touched upon in the past: resources. Here's how Angela Kang described what's in store:
We'll explore what happened as man made objects and structures break down. Infrastructure like roads and bridges are changing and crumbling. And we'll also explore what happens as resources are getting low. There's a fun Western vibe that has emerged. We are going into a period where a lot of the things that we've seen in previous seasons have broken down, so they've got these horses and carriages that are being drawn around instead of cars. Things are lit with oil lamps. People are using different kinds of weaponry. There's a real grittiness to it that I think will be fun and fresh for the viewers.
Now, The Walking Dead has admittedly tackled the concept of low resources in the zombie apocalypse in the past, with characters siphoning gas and going on missions for food (or booze, as the case once was). The pilot even featured Rick raiding his old station for guns and bullets. Still, the show has almost always given the survivors the resources they need that probably should have run out or gone bad by this point. They may struggle for a while, but then they have enough bullets and gas to wage war on each other. Eugene didn't even have all that much trouble making bullets. Angela Kang's comments to EW point toward The Walking Dead finally forcing the survivors to adapt to a lack of resources without any lucky discoveries of weapons caches. Apparently they'll even finally run out of cars to siphon gas from on a regular basis in Season 9!
If you're anything like me, Rick and Co. wasting bullets over the years has been a distraction since there's really a finite number of them existing and able to be reproduced, and watching the characters jump into cars and race into firefights for all-out war has felt less and less realistic as the seasons have passed. The prospect of survivors embracing new weapons and favoring new kinds of transportation may mean that The Walking Dead really is entering a new era. The introduction of Georgie in the second half of Season 8 pointed toward the Hilltop crew at least finding ways of adapting to a life without an endless supply of pre-zombie apocalypse resources, and the hints we've gotten of the show following the time jump indicate that Maggie and the others are going old school for the sake of the future.
Going old school will undoubtedly be easier for some than others. I can see Michonne thriving as resources run out. Her preferred weapon has always been a katana that doesn't require ammo, and Season 3 proved that she knows how to handle a horse and travel among walkers without freaking out or giving herself away. As long as Daryl is able to recycle his arrows, he could also do quite well for himself if the bullets run low. A distance weapon in an era when bullets are hard to come by could make him a valuable member of the community. We don't need to worry about Daryl for a number of reasons.
Rick is obviously quite adaptable and loves that machete of his, but he also loves his revolver. Additionally, characters less experienced in hand-to-hand combat may find themselves at a major disadvantage. Maybe those folks can be in charge of managing the carriages, keeping the oil lamps filled with fuel, and other new jobs that weren't actually necessary before the resources ran low. Only time will tell. Angela Kang truly is guiding the show in some new directions now that she is taking over as showrunner, and it should be fun to see how she handles everything, especially considering Andrew Lincoln's upcoming departure and the plot twist that may have resulted in a very different look for Negan.