The Walking Dead’s season 9 San Diego Comic-Con trailer teases the arrival of a major player recently introduced to Robert Kirkman’s comic books: the Commonwealth.
A sign attached to a spinning windmill reads: “COMMONWEALTH Windmill & Pump Service. Saltville, VA.” Saltville is located in the real-life Commonwealth of Virginia.
The easter egg pays homage to the Commonwealth of the comics, a network located in Ohio of nearly 50,000 survivors interspersed throughout different settlements.
Several survivors belonging to Rick Grimes’ Alexandria Safe-Zone — Michonne, Eugene, Siddiq, Magna and Yumiko, and newcomer Juanita — first encounter the organization in The Walking Dead #173 at the end of the communities’ strife against new enemy group the Whisperers. The group are drawn to Ohio through Stephanie, a contact big-brained inventor Eugene establishes over the radio.
In the ‘New World Order’ arc, launched in issue #175, the Ohio travelers are brought into the Commonwealth by armored soldiers clad in Stormtrooper-like suits. The survivors learn the Commonwealth operates on a class system, and Michonne is shocked when the Commonwealth reunites her with a significant figure from her past previously believed to be dead.
Among the numerous characters introduced through the sprawling organization are Lance Hornsby, Maxwell Hawkins, Elodie, red armor-wearing officer Mercer, spoiled snob Sebastian Milton, and his mother, Pamela Milton — the governor of the Commonwealth.
The arrival of Georgie to The Walking Dead — newly-created for the show in season 8 — birthed speculation the Hilltop’s new put-together benefactor is the TV version of Pamela Milton because of actress Jayne Atkinson’s resemblance to the comic book character. Atkinson herself believes Georgie to be the show’s take on Pamela, noting the similarities
“I can’t imagine that there isn’t [a tie to Pamela Milton], but I was not told that,” Atkinson said.
“And my son actually showed me that picture of her [on the cover of The Walking Dead #176], and I thought, first of all, it looks like me. And the two flanking guards could be [Georgie’s twin bodyguards] Hilda and Midge. So perhaps she’s being modeled after this character. And I think because of the kind of work that I do in the industry, I can’t help but think they’re thinking, ‘Leader.’ I think they’re thinking someone who is used to leading people. They must. So there might be a parallel, but I was not told that.”
Multiple new faces are spotted in the Walking Dead season 9 trailer, part of the new expanded world set to explore the politics between communities. “We have some really cool new characters for comic book fans, you’ll get to see some familiar faces,” new showrunner Angela Kang said at Comic-Con Friday.
Building the new society glimpsed in the trailer is “really kind of this moment that they’ve worked for, and Carl really cemented that,” executive producer Scott Gimple said.
“There has to be something to work for. Maybe everyone is on different pages about how that goes down, so we definitely see the complications. When folks are not on the same page there’s going to be some serious conflict… Navigating through that has been fun, but, you know, not everybody always wants to be civil.”
The Walking Dead returns with its season 9 premiere Sunday, October 7 on AMC.