Despite a hefty decline in ratings and critical praise over the past couple of years, not to mention the upcoming exit of two of its longest-serving characters – including protagonist Rick Grimes – it seems that AMC still has huge confidence in the potential longevity of The Walking Dead.
A couple of years ago, AMC Networks President and CEO Josh Sapan suggested that The Walking Dead could run for “many, many more years”, even claiming it could have the same kind of legs as Star Trek, and now he’s reiterated those thoughts in an interview with THR.
“The Walking Dead is a universe…and we have a plan to manage over the next decade, plus,” said Sapan. “That plan is a careful plan to respect the world of the fans of that world.”
Given those plans, AMC will be hoping that the revamp for the ninth season – which includes a new showrunner, a time jump, and a shake-up of the cast – injects some new life into a series that was once the ratings king of cable television, but has lost close to 50% of its audience over the past few seasons.
“Last season brought the culmination of “All Out War,” which pitted Rick Grimes and his group of survivors against the Saviors and their cunning leader, Negan. With Negan’s life in his hands, Rick had a character-defining choice in front of him. By making the unilateral decision to spare Negan, Rick upheld the values his late son, Carl, championed in order to build for the future, but created conflict within his group. Now, we see our survivors a year and a half after the end of the war, rebuilding civilization under Rick’s steadfast leadership. It is a time of relative peace among the communities as they work together, looking to the past to forge the future, but the world they knew is rapidly changing as man-made structures continue to degrade, and nature takes over, changing the landscape and creating new challenges for our survivors. As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build.”
The Walking Dead season 9 premieres on October 7th on AMC.