The mid-season finale of The Walking Dead properly introduced the Whisperers onto the TV show for the first time. After a couple of chilling cameos from these apparent zombies with the ability to speak, the climax of episode 8, titled “Evolution,” revealed that they were actually human beings clad in gruesome walker skin masks. Clearly, the survivors have got a dangerous new threat on their hands.
As readers of Robert Kirkman’s source material will know, the Whisperers hail from the comics. Showrunner Angela Kang – who took over from Scott M. Gimple for season 9 – seems to be a big fan of the storyline, as she recalls the TWD writers room being hooked on the arc when it first came out.
“The Whisperers story in the comic is one of my favorites from the comic. That storyline was coming out in the comics as I was working on the show. We were literally reading – we get the individual issues in the office and we were reading them and were like, ‘What is he doing? What’s happening? What’s happening?’ We were literally, ‘What’s happening? Could this be it?'”
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This sense of excitement and intrigue was something Kang wanted to recreate for the series, too. At the same time, though, the producer wants to keep things fresh in her adaptation of the original work. Things certainly got off on a good start on that front, as the mid-season finale saw Jesus shockingly killed off by a Whisperer.
“And then it’s like, I just feel like the answer was so much more strange and rewarding than I thought it would be. So that’s really fun, I think to delve into. So I’m really excited for the people who don’t know the story to hopefully see the twists unfold.”
Last but not least, Kang teased that we can expect great performances from Samantha Morton and Ryan Hurst as the Whisperers’ leaders, Alpha and Beta. We’ve heard good things about Morton before, with Greg Nicotero promising that she’ll be the best villain that TWD has ever seen. And though Kang didn’t go quite that far, she did say that the Whisperers might be the most dangerous group of enemies we’ve yet had on the show.
“I’m really excited about the cast we have. Samantha Morton and Ryan Hurst as Alpha and Beta. I just think they brought so much energy and intensity already to the process, like in such a great way. And I think we get to tell a bit of a story that is sort of a mystery. I think in many ways they’re the most formidable group that we’ve come across because they have the power of zombies behind them. So that’s something that I’m really excited for people to see.”
The horror and mystery of the Whisperers will unfold on The Walking Dead when season 9 returns to AMC on Sunday, February 10th.