‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner Angela Kang on Season 10 Exits & Possible Returns

Fall Preview
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The intrepid zombie apocalypse survivors made it through a punishing winter — well, most of them did, no thanks to the cult-like, walker-wearing Whisperers. Season 10 of The Walking Dead brings spring, but in Alexandria and its surrounding communities, trouble is always in season.

“When we come into the season, we’ll see that a lot has happened since the winter storm episode,” showrunner Angela Kang previews. “There’s paranoia gripping the communities and conflict over how to handle the threats [the Whisperers] pose. You’ll see people who are doing better than others, and you’ll see others who are really struggling.”

As the ground thaws, avoiding the borders established by Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her creepy crew — which adds Thora Birch as faithful Gamma — becomes problematic. While people argue over how to handle the threat, Carol (Melissa McBride), who Kang teases has, “had a surprising emotional journey,” since Alpha brutally murdered her adopted son Henry (Matthew Lintz), is now seeking revenge and will push Alpha’s borders.

(Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

“What happened to Henry, it just about broke Carol,” Kang says. “She wants someone to pay.” Luckily, she’ll have her longtime pal Daryl (Norman Reedus) to keep her grounded. “Carol is [Daryl’s] best friend,” Kang admits. “They are tied to each other, one way or another.”

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier (Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

Onetime big bad Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), who is growing into a larger role within the community, is paying too. Says Kang: “He’s tried to redeem himself, but people are suspicious.” Those uncertainties could even affect who wins this war.

Either way, it appears we’ll be getting a lot more of Negan, who has supposedly traded in his leather jacket for gardening gloves at the start of the season. “There’s going to be a lot of fun ahead for fans who have been wanting to see a bigger role for Negan this year,” Kang teases.

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One thing fans might have noticed from the Season 10 trailers so far is the updated — or rather, outdated — use of weaponry. The showrunner notes that the story’s evolution called for fewer guns and more spears and shields naturally. “We’ve shown that our people know how to manufacture bullets, but is that really the best use of resources?” she asks. “When dealing with zombies, you’re really better off with hand weapons—they’re quieter and reusable. They’re not going to run out of ammo with a spear. This is just part of how they’re adapting to the world that they’re in and the timeline that they’re in. And it allows us to do different things with the battles from the gun battles of the past.”

(Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

But how will their new battle plans fare against their latest foe, the Whisperers? Let’s just say, the survivors might need to get a bit creative. “The Whisperers are strange and sly,” Kang says. “They pose particular threats which are unlike any human threats that they’ve faced before. They can’t just storm [the Whisperers] community. They’re nomads. And they’ve got thousands of walkers at their disposal that they could run through any of their homes.”

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Expect at least one heartbreaking exit in the days to come: Danai Gurira‘s strong-willed leader Michonne, who will be taking her leave at some point during Season 10. “[Danai’s] portrayal of Michonne is iconic,” the showrunner admits of the Alexandria boss. “I hope we’ve pulled off a really interesting and emotionally satisfying story for her. We are certainly getting to see her at the height of her superpowers in some ways. I think that there’s some really cool stuff that’s surprising for people to see as we send her off.”

But the katana-wielding warrior won’t be leaving without facing her own troubles in terms of how to lead her people in these panicked times. “She’s really thinking about everyone’s safety, even if it means she’s got to temper herself and her own instincts,” Kang says. “And it takes her in some interesting directions in the story.”

And with Gurira’s exit, might former Hilltop commander Maggie (Lauren Cohan, who left in Season 9) resurface? “We are working on it,” promises Kang. “Fingers crossed.”

Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee (Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

The Walking Dead, Season 10 Premiere, Sunday, October 6, 9/8c, AMC