The Walking Dead is entering a whole new era when the ninth season premieres next month. Not too many details about what exactly Season 9 will entail have released just yet, although the intensity of the first trailer and the new looks of the characters (including a bonkers update for Eugene) following the time jump indicate that the zombie apocalypse will certainly look different. Interestingly, one of the recent images to be released was a new version of the show's title card, and it's quite a bit cleaner than most of the show's title cards and logos in the past. New showrunner Angela Kang revealed why the logo got such a notable update for Season 9:

In previous seasons, the logo in the main titles was gradually decaying along with the world and the zombies in the show. The solid stone letters overgrown with greenery in the season 9 logo reflects the fact that we're jumping into a new chapter of the story where our characters are rebuilding and nature is thriving -- for better and worse.

The zombie apocalypse has been getting steadily worse for the survivors as the seasons pass, and the main title card logo became progressively run down and crumbling. The logo that didn't look all that intact to start looked like it was practically written in sawdust by the end of Season 8. The Season 9 title card (seen up top) shows The Walking Dead title looking solid and complete. The only imperfection is that the stone of the letters is partially covered by overgrown greenery, but that's really a kind of bountiful imperfection that Rick and Co. probably would have (and did) kill for in seasons past. Angela Kang's explanation of the new logo (via Insider) bodes well for the survivors, at least in the beginning of the season.

Given that this is The Walking Dead we're talking about, nothing that starts out smoothly for the survivors is going to keep on going smoothly. Even if we didn't know that the Whisperers are on the way in and Rick is on the way out, it would be safe to guess that all hell would break loose before midseason. Unfortunately for the survivors who have thrived throughout the long time jump even despite anger at how Rick handled Negan in the Season 8 finale, the Whisperers are on the way and Rick is on the way out, and those two may be connected. Could the reason Rick probably doesn't meet Alpha be that he bites the dust courtesy of some of the other Whisperers? It's not the wildest of wild theories for how Rick will leave the show.

We'll have to wait and see how exactly The Walking Dead handles all the major changes. A new trailer for Season 9 may indicate that we should expect the unexpected. Check out the trippy new footage:

Season 9 of The Walking Dead premieres on Sunday, October 7 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC, to be followed by a new episode of Talking Dead with the reinstated Chris Hardwick. If you're looking for some non-zombie apocalypse viewing fare, take a peek at our fall TV premiere schedule.

The Walking Dead's Whisperers, Explained

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