The Walking Dead Season 9 picks up almost two years following the events of Rick’s showdown with Negan, and a lot has changed since the bat-wielding dictator was deposed (and spared) by Rick. As incoming showrunner Angela Kang previously revealed to IGN, Rick’s decision has had major repercussions for all of the surviving communities, from Alexandria and Hilltop to the Sanctuary and Oceanside.
“In the moment, Rick made a decision largely out of his own grief for his son and his son’s wish for a future and a civilization. It’s not anything he ever discussed with his team, it was something he, in the moment, believed was the right thing to do and so he spared him. So when we come into the story, we’re going to see both the good and the bad sides of what’s happened in the wake of that decision,” Kang previewed. “We see that in some ways it worked to achieve the peace between the communities that Rick hoped for; it’s allowed them to move on and keep building, and yet it’s caused pain and its caused a rift in some ways between the philosophies of the communities, so that’s one of the big things we’ll be exploring. And obviously Maggie’s story in that is a major element of what we’ll see this season.”