This past weekend, The Walking Dead viewers experienced the calm before the storm.
Not that it was entirely calm, mind you, as Sunday’s episode still brought about a lot of major plot developments that will no doubt spill over into the season 9 finale, “The Storm.” Chief among them being Alpha’s next move. Her actions became the core talking point of Entertainment Weekly’s recent interview with Angela Kang, series showrunner on The Walking Dead and the person responsible for bringing an end to season 9 – and, presumably, setting the stage for season 10 ahead of its own premiere in October.
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s draw our attention to Alpha, leader of the Whisperers and our worst nightmare. Below, Kang reflects on the moment when Daryl, Michonne, Carol, Yumiko, and Siddiq discover their friends have been killed Game of Thrones-style with their heads mounted on pikes. Yikes.
You know, there were so many conversations about it, because it’s really hard to decide who dies, and any time there is death on the show, sometimes it’s just story-related, sometimes, as with Andy [Lincoln], it’s because there’s a personal factor.
There are contractual things. There are all kinds of things that go on. In this case, we love all of our actors. Some of the people who are on those pikes, we knew from the time we cast them that they were gonna be on the pikes. We specifically cast Brett Butler as Tammy knowing that she would wind up in that array. And we told her that at the time we cast her.
Comic book fans will know all too well that Kang and her creative team took some liberties when filming their own version of The Walking Dead pike scene – in fact, it was almost entirely original, claiming the lives of Tara (Alanna Masterson), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), and Henry (Matt Lintz), and many more.
And for good reason, according to Kang, who went on to discuss the ways in which Alpha chooses her victims; essentially, she seeks retribution for previous events in The Walking Dead season 9, so it certainly makes sense from a storytelling perspective.
There are other characters that have been with us for a while. And it felt like, for the various characters who were on there, for example, Tara, as the leader of Hilltop, who Alpha really has a beef with, there’s some sort of sense and a feeling of retribution specifically with that death. And then there are people that almost feel random. And then you learn that there are people that just wound up in harm’s way by virtue of trying to be heroic, like DJ and those Highwaymen.
Because we think that with Alpha, in some ways, this is an act of terrorism. And the thing about it is it’s terrifying because sometimes you don’t exactly understand how or why she picked her exact victims. And so that’s a big part of it. As well as, there are certain stories that we’re planning into the future, and so sometimes we’ve swapped out characters for those reasons.
The Walking Dead season 9 reaches its blood-filled conclusion this Sunday with “The Storm.” Don’t miss it.