- Season 8 of AMC’s The Walking Dead just wrapped, with the some of its lowest ratings ever
- Will new showrunners be able to take the franchise in a positive direction?
- Can a fresh storyline breathe much-needed life into Season 9?
The eighth season of The Walking Dead has drawn to a close, bringing an end to the all-out-war with Negan that has plagued both Rick and viewers alike for two whole seasons. With a fresh slate and new storyline on the horizon, could Season 9 have what it takes to turn this slowly sinking ship around?
For the past few seasons The Walking Dead has suffered a steady ratings decline, with the Season 8 finale bringing in a relatively small 7.9 million viewers — the lowest-rated finale since Season 2.
Viewership on Sunday night may have been the highest of any program that night, but the numbers still remain down from past seasons.
Viewership on Sunday night may have been the highest of any program that night, but the numbers still remain down from past seasons. Significantly so, in fact. They are down 3.4 million from the Season 7 finale, 6.3 million from Season 6, and a whole 7.9 million from Season 5, the show’s highest-rated season.
— The Walking Dead AMC (@WalkingDead_AMC) April 16, 2018
There are many contributing factors at play, but chief among them is the show’s need to focus on its human survivors. As zombies tend to be rather limited in terms of story arcs or character development, The Walking Dead must rely on its living cast to push things ahead, and this has created a ton of room for repetition and “filler” episodes. Especially, with two entire seasons devoted to one main storyline.
But, with the war over, and Angela Kang taking over as showrunner, there may finally be space for The Walking Dead to once again grow.
What’s Next for The Walking Dead?
As with any season finale, April 15th’s episode gave us a few answers, but far, far more questions. What does the end of the war mean for Rick and his family? Which version of Rick are we even going to get? There have been so many, so far! Can Negan be reformed or will he rot in prison forevermore? What year will Season 9 take place in?
We’ve got some odds and predictions on what you can expect below.
|Odds Negan survives Season 9||1/3|
|Odds that Negan escapes his prison cell||4/1|
|Odds Negan becomes a gardener by end of Season 9||20/1|
Negan is currently still walking the world of The Walking Dead — comic book Negan, that is. Sure, the writers and showrunners haven’t necessarily kept closely to the comics in regards to who lives and who dies (R.I.P. Carl), but we expect they will choose to keep Negan around, at least a little longer.
|Who kills Negan in Season 9?||ODDS|
Alright, but if Negan does get killed off this coming season (3/1 odds this happens), who is most likely to do the deed? Daryl is our top choice, for a couple reasons. He has sided with Maggie, who has every good reason to want the villain dead where he stands — but whose fate is still pretty uncertain (you’ll see why below). In a world where Maggie wants Negan dead, without Rick’s support, we can look to Daryl to step up.
Why isn’t Maggie first pick, you say? Her fate on the show is muddy at best, at this point (again, see below). Her ally is our best bet at this point.
|Odds Dwight finds Sherry in Season 9||5/4|
|Odds Ezekiel and Carol get together in Season 9||4/1|
When Daryl told Dwight to leave, find his wife, and never return, Dwight took him seriously. Unfortunately for the man, all he has to help him find her is a succinct note (“honeymoon”) and a lot of time. While the side story may not be the most compelling option, it seems as though the writer’s have plans to tie these strings up for us at some point (why else would they lead us on with that cryptic note?).
As for Ezekiel and Carol…
— DarylDixonIsMyArcher (@leedusme1227) November 27, 2017
There is nothing to string a viewer along like a good, old-fashioned “will they, won’t they”, so it may not happen this season – but after Sunday night’s emotions, this has got to go down.
O/U episodes in Season 9 that feature Carl: 2.5
Flashbacks, hallucinations, alternate realities — honestly, what’s not on the table at this point? Carl might be gone, but he won’t be far from our memories. And, unless there was some sort of internal drama happening amongst cast and crew — in that case, out of sight, out of mind — he likely won’t be far from our screens, either.
Odds Rick kills a non-walker in Season 9: 5/4
We’ve seen Rick attempt pacifism before, but how long can a series go with its main character living in absolute peace and contentment with all those around him? He’ll hold out awhile, for sure, but something is going to force Rick to make a tough decision and in the face of his family’s survival, that tough decision is likely going to involve life or death.
Who is Next?
|Which main character will be killed first in Season 9?||ODDS|
The question on everyone’s minds, regardless of where in the season or story arc we are, is nearly always “Who’s next?” — because, someone’s got to be. And, chances are we are going to like them.
At the moment, things do not bode well for Maggie. She is currently planning to take on Rick for sparing Negan’s life.
At the moment, things do not bode well for Maggie. She is currently planning to take on Rick for sparing Negan’s life, and the character who plays her is currently still unsigned as a series regular for next season. Not to mention, she is attached to an ABC pilot at the moment.
Exile or death — these are the options for Mags should Cohen decide not to return. And, if the formula is to be respected at all (that is, a beloved character dying in an effort to produce the greatest shock value possible), death is the most likely.
O/U Season 9 premiere ratings (viewers): 7.5 million
What do you think? Is Maggie most likely to be killed or exiled? Will Negan escape? Let us know in the comments below!
Let's have fun and keep it civil.