The Walking Dead on Twitter shared a behind-the-scenes photo highlighting some of the survivors of Season Nine, which ended Sunday with a snow-covered finale after losing ten victims to Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers an episode earlier.
Pictured: Cailey Fleming (Judith), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Cassady McClincy (Lydia), Cooper Andrews (Jerry), Avi Nash (Siddiq), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Antony Azor (RJ), Nadia Hilker (Magna), Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko), Khary Payton (King Ezekiel), Kerry Cahill (Dianne), Ross Marquand (Aaron), Melissa McBride (Carol), and Nadine Marissa (Nabila).
“There’s so much behind the decisions of who goes and who doesn’t go,” Season Nine finale director Greg Nicotero told THR of the preceding episode, “The Calm Before,” which ended with a shock reveal of the decapitated heads of Tara (Alanna Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), and Henry (Matt Lintz), among others, placed atop pikes marking Whisperer territory.
“Even at the beginning of the season, when we knew the sequence was coming, everybody was always saying to [Rosita actress] Christian [Serratos] and Khary: ‘Heads on spikes are coming! Here it comes!’ But it’s always about what these moments and these deaths do to other characters that catapults them forward. In regard to Henry and his relationship to Carol, Daryl and Ezekiel … there’s a very specific reason to lose him.”
Henry’s death forced Carol and Ezekiel to separate, possibly only temporarily, and the loss of Jesus (Tom Payne) and then interim Hilltop leader Tara allowed the displaced Kingdom citizens to relocate to the colony formerly overseen by Maggie (Lauren Cohan), one shift that will continue to play out in Season Ten.
“In terms of other characters? Tara stepped up as a leader once Jesus died. She was showing some real authority and leadership at Hilltop. Ultimately, it's an organic decision, the way it evolves, like the relationship between Enid and Alden (Callan McAuliffe),” Nicotero said.
“You see a budding relationship and a budding romance, where people are rising to what makes them the best person they can be, like Tara. In many instances, some people find those realizations. In other instances, it’s brutally torn from them.”
The Walking Dead returns for its tenth season this October on AMC.
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