The Walking Dead Showrunner Previews The Whisperers Ahead of Midseason Premiere
Angela Kang dishes on what fans can expect in the second half of the show's ninth season.
By Chris Morse
The Walking Dead returns next month and with it comes a new group of survivors that is changing everything we thought about this ruined world. We've already learned how dangerous The Whisperers can be and received an early preview of the leader, Alpha, but many fans are looking forward to seeing where the conflict goes from here. They might be surprised by how it all plays out.
Showrunner Angela Kang, who took over the duties from Scott Gimple this season, offered a bit of a preview of what's to come in the back half of season 9 in a recent chat with EW. "We’ll get to know more about this group and their brutal survival of the fittest philosophy and how that really plays out in horrifying ways," she explained, before diving into how our established characters will deal with the reality of this new group led by series newcomers Samantha Morton and Ryan Hurst.
We will get to meet the amazing Samantha Morton as Alpha and Ryan Hurst as Beta, as our heroes are really grappling with how to deal with a threat that’s unlike anything they’ve ever faced with people with such a different philosophy. They’re also just trying to figure out how they need to interact with each other in this world as they face more and more problems and challenges related to both this new threat and some of the other obstacles that they face in this world. We’ll continue to see the effects that nature has on our people, as things start to break down and they deal with the problems that come up as a result of these things.
When asked about what makes the leaders, Alpha and Beta, so formidable and different in the scope of the story, Kang had the following to add.
Part of the story will reveal — pretty early on in the back half of the season — the way that Alpha thinks and the way that she moves about the world. I think what is really interesting about them is that to put on the skin of a dead person and walk around in the world and walk around amidst walkers, that really takes a certain kind of a person.
It’s this amazing idea from the comics and we really delve deep into what that means. It really takes a pretty brutal philosophy to believe that it’s not even worth trying to be something that approximates human in the way that we think of it. I think that really brings them right up against the things that our people are thinking about as they’re trying to rebuild something that’s like a civilization, and just the fact that this group just doesn’t even think any of that is worth preserving. It’s something that’s really dangerous for our people to grapple with.
Kang also pointed out how The Whisperers represent a distinct contrast to the survivors we have been following since the beginning. Rather than striving to move back towards establishing civilization like our groups have done in Alexandria, the Hilltop, and the Kingdom, these villains have instead opted to double down on their more primal survival instincts and live more savage lifestyles.
It really plays well to the overall themes we’re exploring this season, just with the world falling apart a little bit more as the days and the years pass. Our people try and fight that tide by trying to rebuild, and they’re seeing that some people have decided to take completely the opposite tack, which is something that gives them pause in moments. They’re not a group that can be reasoned with in some of the same ways that some other villains have been that they’ve encountered in the past.
Based on the story from the comic series alone, these themes really are spot on with what makes the arrival of the Whisperers so interesting. Since the beginning, most of the characters have been thinking about and working toward a life similar to what they had before, but this group has clearly gone in the opposite direction, embracing the chaos and becoming more animalistic. However, that doesn't make them any less intelligent, as we will all soon find out when season 9 continues.
The Walking Dead will return for eight more episodes on February 10th at its usual time on AMC.