Following on from their reveal in the midseason finale, The Walking Dead season 9B will focus on the looming new threat caused by the Whisperers, a terrifying cult-like community who’ve reverted to savagery following the apocalypse. Clad in zombie face-masks, they stalk the living amongst hordes of walkers, making them even deadlier because they’re not easily detected. We’ve already got a feel for how creepy they can be from previous promos, but this one is perhaps the most chilling yet.
The 30-second video up above features shots of our heroes – like Carol (Melissa McBride) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Michonne (Danai Gurira) with her kids and Daryl (Norman Reedus) – from behind trees and through gaps, suggesting they’re being watched. The end of the teaser then reveals a group of Whisperers gathered in the woods, with Alpha (Samantha Morton) heard to decree that “they do not belong here,” stirring the others up to grip their knives and weapons. The message of the promo is clear: the survivors are in big trouble.
We’ve previously had a good look at Alpha before now, the leader of the Whisperers, but this newest video is really the first to give us a solid glimpse of Beta, as played by Sons of Anarchy‘s Ryan Hurst. In case you can’t work it out, he’s the tall, bearded Whisperer flanking Alpha in the footage.
Both should be fearsome foes for our heroes in their own ways, too. Alpha’s a malevolent, calculating leader who commands the respect of her people. And as her right-hand man, Beta’s more reckless and responsive and can be equally as dangerous. Showrunner Angela Kang has promised that both will prove to be fascinating, formidable villains in the back half of the season, while producer Greg Nicotero even thinks that the Whisperers are the best villains TWD‘s ever produced.
And we’ll get to judge for ourselves if he’s right when The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 10th.