AMC has released the key art for the upcoming
ninth season of “The Walking Dead” and it features departing cast
member Andrew Lincoln, as Rick Grimes, bathed in a red light.

Behind Rick, there’s a mini glimpse
at Carol, Michonne, Daryl and Maggie.

The new season of the AMC drama will pick up a
18-months after the Season 8 finale, with the zombie apocalypse survivors
rebuilding civilization under the leadership of Rick. Peace currently reigns
and the communities are working together to make a new future. But, there will
be new challenges for everyone thanks to ongoing changes to the world –
decaying structures and the growth of nature to name a few, according to AMC.

“As time passes, the communities confront unexpected obstacles, danger, and of course, walkers, but nothing quite prepares them for the formidable force they are about to encounter, which threatens the very idea of civilization that our survivors have worked so hard to build,” AMC shared of the new season in a release on Wednesday.

The network also shared new portraits of the cast, including one of Andrew, who confirmed while onstage in Hall H at Comic-Con in July that he is leaving the show.

“This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes,” he told the crowd back in July. “I love this show. It means everything to me.”

“This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career and made largely because of you guys and the relationship we have here, with you and with you, in this room, and also in rooms across America and the rest of the world, so I do want to thank you,” he said.

“[A] sort of large part of me will always be a machete-wielding, Stetson-wearing, zombie-slaying sheriff’s deputy from London, England,” he added.

“The Walking Dead” Season 9 premiere Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9 PM ET/PT on AMC.

Jolie Lash