As everyone knows, The Walking Dead season 9 will be the last to feature Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes. Seeing as the show is losing its protagonist, some fans might be thinking of giving up on the long-running AMC series once he leaves at some point during the first half of this new run. Well, that would be a mistake according to exec producer Greg Nicotero, as he promises that a major, exciting character is on the way.
ComicBook.com caught up with Nicotero recently and asked him the reasons why fans should keep watching after Rick leaves. His biggest argument for why they should is because if they depart, they’d miss “the greatest villain” the series has ever had – Samantha Morton’s Alpha, the leading of the chilling Whisperers, a group comic book readers have been waiting to see make the jump from the source material for years.
Nicotero believes that the arrival of Alpha and the Whisperers on the scene gives the show a “whole different flavor” and it almost feels like the TWD of yesteryear again.
“If they don’t stick around post-Rick, they’re going to miss out on probably the greatest villain The Walking Dead has ever had. That would make me really sad. I have some unbelievable pictures of Alpha in my phone. I’ve been begging Scott Gimple and AMC to let me post it. It’s a whole different flavor. It’s such a great story. I love the Whisperers in the comic book and I think they’re better on the show. I give a tremendous amount of credit to Angela [Kang] for really getting a chance to put her stamp on the show and it feels a bit like Season Three again.”
The Walking Dead has had some of the most memorable TV villains this decade over its run so far, from Jon Bernthal’s Shane to David Morrisey’s the Governor to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan. So, Nicotero’s claim that Alpha’s going to top all of them is a pretty ballsy one. Still, like we just said, one thing the show’s always provided is great antagonists, so we’re hoping the producer’s claim isn’t just hot air.
If you’re not familiar with the comics, the Whisperers are another group of survivors who have taken to wearing masks of walker skins to blend in with the zombie hordes. Alpha’s the callous leader of the community, whose real name is never revealed and believes that the only way to survive in the post-apocalyptic world is to forget about rebuilding civilization and live like animals.
We’ll see just how much of an impact she and the Whisperers make when The Walking Dead season 9 kicks off this Sunday, October 7th.