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The Real Reason The Walking Dead Has So Many Time Jumps

Contains minor spoilers for "The Walking Dead" Season 11 Episode 9

In 2018, in the midst of the ninth season of "The Walking Dead," longtime Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln left the series for good. Previously, Rick was about as much of a main character as was possible given its ensemble cast, so his departure shook up the show's status quo considerably.

Nevertheless, Season 9 managed to revitalize the series to some extent in spite of losing Lincoln. Namely, Season 9 began a year and a half after the prior season before jumping ahead another six years a handful of episodes later. This time jump has a profound effect on the "Walking Dead" timeline, impacting characters in ways that wouldn't have normally been possible. The February 20 premiere of Season 11B of "The Walking Dead" similarly jumps ahead in time, though in this case it's not in response to losing a lead actor, but simply a creative choice.

Angela Kang, who became the series' showrunner starting in Season 9, recently spoke to NME in advance of the Season 11B premiere. During her interview, Kang shed some light on why the producers of "The Walking Dead" find the time jump to be a useful plot device.

Time jumps change up the rhythm of The Walking Dead

As recounted at the start of her interview with NME, before Angela Kang was brought on as showrunner, "The Walking Dead" was struggling. Most notably, over the course of the prior three years, its viewership dropped by 10 million. So when Kang became its showrunner, her job was not only to take charge of "The Walking Dead," but to inject new life into the series. Jumping ahead in time during Season 9 was part of an initiative to do just that.

"I think the time jumps helped," Kang told NME. "Up until that point, a lot of the show had felt like '24' on steroids. Every episode picked up right in the next moment. That was great because it created cliffhangers, but I just found myself wanting to mess with the rhythm of the show a little bit. It was great in creating a sense of urgency – but when you're always picking up off the last episode, you can't progress certain things very far."

So, while establishing a new status quo after losing a key cast member was seemingly a part of the reason Kang decided jump ahead in time in Season 9, she cited changing up the show's rhythm and advancing characters' storylines as major factors too. The time jumps in Season 11B, then, are likely also in service of these goals as the series approaches its endgame.