Warning: Spoilers for The Waking Dead Season 8 follow...
Speaking to EW, Kang explained that we'll see the way the world has deteriorated more than ever before following the show's unspecified time jump. The new season will also see the use of horses and more archaic weapons since gas and bullets will be more difficult to find.
“There’s a fun Western vibe that has emerged,” Kang said. “We are going into a period where a lot of the things that we’ve seen in previous seasons have broken down, so they’ve got these horses and carriages that are being drawn around instead of cars. Things are lit with oil lamps. People are using different kinds of weaponry. There’s a real grittiness to it that I think will be fun and fresh for the viewers.”
Kang describes Season 9 as a "new era" for the characters in the series. With the absence of Carl, different characters will also be stepping up.
As for Rick, he'll start in a peaceful place at the beginning of the new season. Kang told THR that Rick will try to turn the pain of losing his son into something positive for those around him, but he'll also possibly be facing the consequences of letting Negan live.
"Rick will face some real challenges along the way," Kang said. "The thing that I hope the audience will respond to is seeing how Rick's underlying goodness and leadership will shine in moments of great adversity."
Michonne will also have a substantial arc in Season 9, which Kang believes will be quite surprising for fans. However, Maggie is still recovering from watching Negan murder Glenn and has to figure out what she needs to do to move on. Although Lauren Cohan is only expected to be in a limited number of episodes in the new season, given her filming commitments to ABC's Whiskey Cavalier, Kang told THR that the actress "has said that she would like to come back to the show and we would love to have her back; we think there's more story with Maggie to tell. We already have some plans brewing that I think are pretty cool."
Negan will find himself behind bars with no one to talk to and his new dull life will be heavily explored.
"That’s part of the story — [incarceration] being mind-numbingly boring, especially for someone like Negan who’s used to being in a position of leadership," Kang told TVLine. "What does that do to him? The community thinks of him as sort of the monster in the basement.”
The Walking Dead Season 9 will also see the return of Jon Bernthal's Shane, while Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes will reportedly only appearing in six episodes, with Lincoln rumored to be leaving the series altogether after next season.
Alex Gilyadov is a writer for IGN. Be sure to check out his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter.