Female empowerment is a natural progression in the¬†Walking Dead¬†universe. Executive producer Scott Gimple spoke to¬†Us Weekly about the show‚Äôs tendency to elevate plot lines about strong women.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm proud to be a part of a show that, even the comics that the show is based on, had the story values to put forth incredibly strong, powerful female characters. Michonne (Danai Gurira) is from the comic book, and it can‚Äôt get stronger than her,‚ÄĚ Gimple, 47, told¬†Us¬†at the¬†Walking Dead¬†season 9 premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 27. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôre going to see some new characters this season from the comic book, incredibly strong female characters. And to have anything short of that is just to tell a frickin‚Äô lame story, and that‚Äôs been true long before this political moment. When you don‚Äôt have strong female characters in your stories, you are telling stupid stories.‚ÄĚ
He continued: ‚ÄúI was proud from the moment I started [working on¬†The Walking Dead]. I‚Äôm that much prouder to have promoted Angela Kang to showrunner and to step back and tell different stories. I think that¬†The Walking Dead¬†is a place where you can find great female voices, great female artists and stories that honor female characters, not as a novelty but as intrinsic story value.‚ÄĚ
Gimple went on to elaborate on season 9‚Äôs focus. ‚ÄúThere are a number of incredibly powerful female leaders on this show, in the story,‚ÄĚ he added. ‚ÄúAnd the story turns on their decisions and actions.‚ÄĚ
The writer also emphasized the changes ahead in the series‚Äô upcoming season. ‚ÄúThere are multiple huge stories coming up, big shifts, the way that we tell stories has changed. It really has different emphasis that other seasons have not, and that‚Äôs to give the audience something new,‚ÄĚ Gimple revealed. ‚ÄúThe pressure I would imagine with any show, whether it be this show or¬†60 Minutes, is after all these years providing some novelty, new stuff, fighting hard to give the audience an experience that they haven‚Äôt had in eight years. Going into our ninth¬†season, that‚Äôs been the big thing. And I think that this incredible writing staff, that this incredible cast has really risen to the occasion, the producers. And it feels great!‚ÄĚ
Kang previewed the female-focused narrative at the AMC Summit in June, hinting at ‚Äúsome really great stories‚ÄĚ for Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Michonne, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride). The showrunner also noted that season 9 will include a time jump.
The Walking Dead¬†will feature casting changes when it returns, too, with Andrew Lincoln confirming his exit in July and Cohan taking on a reduced role as she stars in ABC‚Äôs upcoming spy series,¬†Whiskey Cavalier.
The Walking Dead¬†returns to AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9 p.m. ET.
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