How The Walking Dead Is Different With New Showrunner Angela Kang

the walking dead season 8 hilltop
(Image credit: Image courtesy of AMC)

The Walking Dead is going through some major changes behind the scenes for Season 9, and one of the most significant with be the promotion of Angela Kang to the showrunner position. After previous showrunner Scott Gimple moved to a different job in the Walking Dead franchise, longtime Walking Dead writer and executive producer Kang landed the gig, and the show looks to be entering a whole new era. While we'll have to wait until the show premieres its ninth season in October to see many of the changes to the series under Kang's leadership, actress Katelyn Nacon revealed one way The Walking Dead is different behind-the-scenes:

I feel like a lot of people have more input into kind of what they want to see what happens with their character. She's very hands-on and very, I don't want to say cooperative, but she's very adamant about hearing what we have to say and our ideas and our opinions on the characters that we have kind of brought to life. She listens very well. She tries to make us feel as comfortable as we can with what we're doing and where we're going.

Katelyn Nacon, who plays teen zombie apocalypse survivor Enid, explained that actors nowadays have more input into what will go down with their character. Given that Season 9 will pick up after a sizable time jump, many of the characters will presumably in new places and mindsets that were not incorporated into Season 8. We can't say at this point which members of the cast did and did not influence their characters' directions, but Nacon's comments to point toward more behind-the-scenes conversations between cast and showrunner happening under Angela Kang.

Personally, I put my money on Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan at least playing a part in their characters' roles in the ninth season. Lincoln has been the star of the series from the very beginning of the very first episode, and his upcoming departure is bound to be one of the -- if not the -- most game-changing twists in the series to date. Surely Lincoln earned the right to weigh in on how Rick takes his leave of the zombie apocalypse!

Lauren Cohan is also leaving The Walking Dead after around seven years on the show, having made her debut during the farm arc of Season 2. Cohan didn't close the door on someday returning to The Walking Dead, so Maggie's open ending after she leaves in Season 9 may have been designed to accommodate Cohan's schedule and wishes. Given how his role in the series is likely to increase (along with his paycheck), I wouldn't be surprised if Norman Reedus has had some input on his character. Will this mean more developments between Daryl and Carol, considering Reedus' love of working with Melissa McBride?

We'll have to wait and see. Whatever happens and no matter how much input the actors had on their characters, we can bet that it will be a wild and emotional ride in at least the first half of Season 9. The introduction of the Whisperers will undoubtedly mix things up, and we can only speculate about why Rick probably won't be around long enough to meet Alpha. We do have our fair share of fun theories about how Rick will leave the series, and we can continue speculating to pass the time until The Walking Dead returns.

The Walking Dead will premiere its ninth season on Sunday, October 7 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC, with a new episode of Talking Dead (with Chris Hardwick back as host) to follow. If you haven't yet, check out the Season 9 trailer. For some more options in the not-too-distant future, take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.