The Walking Dead’s 18-month time jump in Season Nine means more unseen time will have passed in the series than ever before, but time will also pass quicker with swifter plot progression during the new season, says Maggie actress Lauren Cohan.
“I was excited, because the time can go very [slow] — we can spend a couple seasons in a really short space of time, as people know, and this season it’s like [boom],” Cohan told BUILD.
Time can pass slowly on The Walking Dead: roughly three and a half weeks passed between seasons Seven and Eight, putting just 25 days of distance between the murders of Abraham and Glenn in the Season Seven premiere and Negan’s defeat and capture in the Season Eight finale.
In Season Nine, “We go suddenly… a couple of years later,” Cohan said. Maggie has since given birth to her child, baby Hershel, and the Hilltop is thriving after building itself up on plans handed down by benefactor Georgie (Jayne Atkinson).
“There’s a bunch of psychological advancement for everybody, too. I mean, it’s just like having the baby and how we’ve had to change as people, and definitely how Maggie has to change in her leadership position,” Cohan said. “And it’s good. I mean, this is a huge, huge, like, cannonball blast of a season. It’s really, really, really big and we’re excited.”
Showrunner Angela Kang confirmed the 18-month time jump on Talking Dead’s Walking Dead Season Nine preview special. The new season draws inspiration from the comic book series’ “A New Beginning” arc, which leapt over two years into the future following the defeat of the Saviors and ousted Sanctuary leader Negan.
Enough time will have passed that “there’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged,” Kang told EW. “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.”
“There’s [a big moment] in every episode that we’ve shot so far, honestly,” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd teased during San Diego Comic-Con.
Two of the bigger moments this season will come in the ways The Walking Dead navigates the loss of Maggie and Rick Grimes, as Cohan and leading man Andrew Lincoln are poised to exit the series before the midway point in Season Nine.
“I’m in the first six episodes of the show, and then a lot happens in the sixth episode of the show,” Cohan told People. “But the possibilities for how Maggie remains in the story and re-enters the story… are multitudinous.”
The Walking Dead returns with its ninth season Sunday, October 7 on AMC.