There are changes afoot for The Walking Dead. The zombie apocalypse drama is returning for its ninth season on Sunday, Oct. 7 with a new showrunner, Angela Kang, and an ever-expanding cast. There's also a little cast shakeup already announced: Andrew Lincoln, Rick Grimes, will depart the show.
"With each season, we just get bigger, badder, more brave and bold," The Walking Dead star Christian Serratos told E! News about the AMC drama's upcoming ninth season. "I feel like with Angela Kang we're going to have a whole new feel, it's a lot more western—there's a lot more hope and a lot more people. We're going to meet a lot of interesting people this year. It's going to be fun."
Western was a recurring thematic buzzword when E! News caught up with The Walking Dead cast at the season nine premiere. Other descriptors include…
Danai Gurira: "Powerful, gut-wrenching and deep."
Tom Payne: "Back to basics."
Nadia Hilker: "Women, badass, female power."
Ross Marquand: "Breakdown, chaos, bloody."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan deemed the new season "exciting, different, heartbreaking."
"I think it's a totally different tone this year than what we've seen—It really is a throwback to, I think, what the show started off being. It feels a little bit like a Western. Heartbreaking for reasons that you'll find out and reasons, some that you know, and interesting in that I think the story is really kind of kicked up…Getting out of Alexandria a little bit and seeing these characters out on the road a little bit is a good feel," Morgan said.
Click play on the video above to hear more from the cast, including Norman Reedus.
The Walking Dead season nine premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on AMC.