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The Walking Dead season 9 won’t be Rick vs. Maggie (and 4 more things we’ve learnt)

The Walking Dead season 9 (opens in new tab) may be a little way off, but you know what they say: you’ve got to speculate to accumulate. Except we don’t even have to do that, because outgoing showrunner Scott Gimple has laid bare what we can expect from the next chapter of the neverending saga featuring Rick and the gang.

Speaking to TVLine (opens in new tab), Gimple was candid about everything from a potential Rick and Maggie conflict to whether Lauren Cohan would even be back as Maggie at all. There’s so much there, in fact, we’ll have to break it all down.

Rick vs. Maggie isn't happening - at least not directly

Despite The Walking Dead season 8 ending (opens in new tab) on an ominous note, it seems like Maggie and Rick won’t be butting heads next season.

“What Maggie has said to Daryl and Jesus was, ‘The Hilltop is going to flourish… I’m going to lead this place and make it work. But after that, I have this little thing on my to-do list, and it has to do with Negan,’” Gimple reveals. “That’s the main thing. It isn’t like, ‘I wanna get Rick!’ or something like that, it’s about Negan.”

Maggie is probably returning (and we'll find out very soon)

Lauren Cohan has had some whispers surrounding her about contract wranglings for some time now. That’s about to all be sorted, however. In fact, if you take Gimple at face value, she’s almost certainly coming back.

“We’re talking about [whether Maggie returns], and we will be telling peeps what’s up with all that soon. But obviously, we’re going to do something. Otherwise, that scene would be tricky business,” Gimple says.

Dwight might come back too

“I will say definitively, he’s not dead, so you never know. But I shan’t go deeper into it than that,” Gimple teases.

The Walking Dead season 9 will feature much larger communities 

Civilization seems to be the buzzword going around for the next season of The Walking Dead. We’ve already seen Gracie (and don’t forget that darn helicopter), but could we find some place that could dwarf The Kingdom, The Hilltop, and all these other communities? Almost certainly by the sounds of it…

“From the things said in the finale, there’s a bigger ambition now, a bigger thing that they’re chasing. It isn’t just regular, everyday survival, which they’ve become quite adept at. It’s what to do with that. Now they’re going after civilization,” Gimple reckons.

Negan still has a role to play

Let’s talk comics for a minute. The Walking Dead season 8 (opens in new tab) finale drew pretty heavily from its comic-book cousin, so much so, in fact, that it’s looking to tread down the same path in terms of what’ll play out with Negan. No spoilers here, but the former leader of the Saviors could be a useful tool in the wars to come.

“I knew I wanted to emulate the comic,” Gimple says of Negan’s survival. “When I read it, I really liked what it was saying, so I wanted to try and fulfill that and even make it bigger,” hinting at the possible direction The Walking Dead season 9 may yet find itself heading in.

If you want another glimpse at the future, be sure to check out 2018's new TV shows (opens in new tab).

I'm the Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.