The Walking Dead will introduce deaf character in season 9, with Tony-nominated star landing role

The Walking Dead has cast Tony-nominated actress Lauren Ridloff as a character from Robert Kirkman’s comics for the upcoming ninth season.

Ridloff is the first deaf actress to join the cast of the AMC series, and will be playing the character Connie, who fits directly into the time jump that fans will see in the new episodes.

Although not a deaf character in Kirkman’s original comic, Connie is a member of a group of survivors led by Magna and an ally for Rick Grimes and his militia at Alexandria.

Entertainment Weekly reports that The Walking Dead TV show’s version of Connie will use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate, and is described as “a seasoned survivor deft at using her senses to read people, situations, and trouble”.

Actress Lauren Ridloff is a former teacher, who earned a Best Actress in a Play nomination at this year’s Tony Awards for her acclaimed performance in Children of a Lesser God.

Ridloff joins the cast as veteran cast members Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohan are both expected to depart by the end of the ninth season.

There have also been rumblings that Danai Gurira could also quit as Michonne, with showrunner Angela Kang admitting that her contractual status beyond the current season is “out of [her] realm”.

“We just know that we have lots of story we want to tell with Michonne,” Kang stressed.

Before Andrew Lincoln bows out, his character is expected to reunite with former best friend-turned-nemesis Shane Walsh when Jon Bernthal returns after many years away.

The Walking Dead airs on AMC in the US, and on FOX and NOW TV in the UK.

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