Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead Season 8 finale. After eight epic seasons, the climactic All-Out War has finally been resolved. But fear not: There's a whole new chapter ahead and cast members are somewhat in the know about what's to come. At AMC's “Survival Sunday" the night of the Season 8 finale in Los Angeles, The Walking Dead cast hinted at Season 9 spoilers and spoke about what they hope will happen to their characters in the next season the zombie saga.
In perhaps the first time ever for a Walking Dead season finale, all the series regulars survived — even Negan, who Rick wounded but is determined to keep alive and captive as a symbol of a new kind of order. Now, Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis) says she's ready to see the characters enter new environments. "I’d like us to explore more area than what we have. I’d like us to go on the move," she says.
With that said, Khary Payton (Ezekiel) hints that there could be further exploration of how the various groups interact now that the war is over. "I would love to see the way that these kingdoms, these communities, start to come together because they’re very spread out. And being spread out in an apocalypse doesn’t seem to work very well," he says. "I feel like [we'll see them] trying to figure out how they actually work together in a way that’s gonna keep everybody safe." But not everything will be smooth sailing just because the war has concluded.
"I just feel like there’s gonna be a lot of screw ups on the road," Payton continues. "I suppose the war itself is over, but there are still challenges ahead and just like treaties at the end of wars, that doesn't mean feelings are resolved. We’ll see how that ceasefire goes."
Additionally, Tom Payne (Jesus) suggests that Season 9 could potentially bring back OG TWD content by popular demand. "I’d like it to get more back to basics," the actor says. "Everyone’s always asking me, like, when is the gas gonna run out? All these kinds of things." Now that the build up to the war is over, the show could bring it back to where it all started. "It would be interesting to see people coping in a world which is a bit more grounded again, I think there’s a possibility of that next year," Payne says.
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple hinted that Sunday's finale would be a conclusion of the first eight seasons before moving forward with a new narrative, telling The Hollywood Reporter it would be the "end of a chapter" of the series. Luckily, cast members are enthusiastic about the decision and are excited about what they know so far regarding what's to come.
"I think the show needs that now," Payne says. "I think the All-Out War storyline has been a good one and Negan’s been a great character for the show, but I do think the show needs a new lease on life and I’m excited for that." McIntosh is also looking forward to what's ahead. "It’s really exciting, I had my big chat so I know what’s happening. It’s cool," she hints. "We’ve got a new showrunner now, Angela [Kang], she is awesome." The actor also sees a lot of potential for new material from the writer's room. "We have a split gender, female and male, writing team, so I think the possibilities are endless really."
According to Payne, Season 9 starts shooting in about two weeks, which means the first script should be arriving at any moment, and usually by around this time the writers have mapped out the first half of the season. "There are definitely ideas [the writers] have that they wanna do, but fans can suggest things and we’ll see if they get there," Payne says. So what would the three like to see happen for their respective characters?
"I would like [Jesus] to kick some more ass. Be a little bit more forward about using his skills," Payne says. Payton, on the other hand, just wants to stick around. "I would hope that I avoid any instances of dying. I love this job! I don’t wanna die," he says. McIntosh hopes that Jadis will have some deeper connections and storylines. "I’d just like to see her connect a little more to some new folks and [have] a connective experience like she’s starting to have with Negan and that she had before a little bit with Rick," she says.
And who knows — since TWD's brand new chapter is still in works, there's a chance all that could happen. And if fans are really passionate about what they want to see unfold, maybe, just maybe, the writers will listen.