As ‘The Walking Dead’ heads into the lull between its completed Eighth Season and the anticipation of it’s Ninth Season, it feels as if fans are being left a bit more torn this offseason than in recent years.  The show has always functioned under the mantra that “no character is safe,” and certainly we’ve seen many a main character die and leave the show in a variety of gruesome ways.  Now, however, with the survivors battling not only the undead threat but also having endured a brutal war with Negan and the Saviors, many viewers are feeling emotionally exhausted.

In addition to all of this, there is a contingency of fans who feel that this particular story arc has gone on a bit longer than was needed and not only are they getting tired of this particular plotline, they are beginning to stop watching the show altogether.  It’s no secret that viewership is down for AMC’s flagship show.  Show Executive Producer Scott Gimple, who is stepping down after the Eighth Season, acknowledged this issue in a recent interview, as he spoke about the ending to the current storyline:

“We will see a resolution of the war. It might not be what people are expecting. It might not be what some of the characters even want. But it is a conclusion, and they have to deal with its aftermath. I pray to God that [viewers] are satisfied. I really hope they are. It is a war. There are casualties along the way, and it is incredibly tough business. But it only shows just how deeply connected these characters are and how their fates are tied together, even if some of them don’t want them to be.

“I would never tell the audience that it was safe to exhale. It is a devastating world that these characters live in, but there is still beauty and hope.”

It certainly sounds as if Gimple knows that, even without him as EP for Season 9 and beyond, the one constant in the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ is change.

The Ninth Season of ‘The Walking Dead’ will return to AMC this Fall.