During Walker Stalker Atlanta — an annual convention celebrating all things The Walking Dead — stars Katelyn Nacon and Chandler Riggs, who play Enid and Carl Grimes, respectively, teased the future arrival of popular characters from Robert Kirkman's long running comic book series.
"I don't think there's a Lydia this season, at least," Nacon said when asked about the introduction of Lydia. "Unless that just went over my head."
Riggs chimed in, saying, "The Whisperers story arc we probably wouldn't get to until like Season 9 or 10."
The Walking Dead just kicked off its season 8 premiere last Sunday, adapting Volume 20 of the comics, "All Out War."
In the books — spoilers ahead if you've yet to read that far — the Whisperers were introduced in issue #130, during Volume 22, "A New Beginning." The enigmatic group first showed up after Rick Grimes and the combined efforts of the Alexandria, Hilltop and Kingdom communities toppled the oppressive regime of Negan and the Saviors.
The survivors of The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead have frequently used Walker blood to camouflage themselves from the shambling undead, but the Whisperers took the strategy one step further: they would skin Walkers and use the body parts to disguise themselves, allowing them to blend in with the dead and move freely. One of the major members, teenager Lydia, was daughter to the cold and cunning Alpha — the leader of the Whisperers who was as intelligent as she was savage. Lydia would go on to become Carl's love interest and defect from the villainous group, helping her new beau wage war against the barbaric Whisperers.
Alpha and her group would serve as the new primary villains for Rick and our heroes until Volume 27, "The Whisperer War." Despite Riggs' suggestion that the roaming group of baddies won't arrive season 9 or 10 — which in real time would place their arrival in 2018 or 2019 — the show has never followed the comics to the letter, and could introduce the characters earlier.
Last year we learned Maria Bello (ER, Goliath) was cast for season 8 — and while it's possible the actress could be playing a Savior, a member of the Oceanside community or a randomly encountered survivor, it wouldn't be unreasonable to theorize the veteran actress could be introduced as Alpha, even if it's only briefly to set up a larger role for successive seasons.
It's also possible the recently announced The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead crossover could concern Alpha and the Whisperers — some fans even think Fear's leading lady, Madison (Kim Dickens), could go on to be revealed as Alpha — but it remains to be seen how either show will be impacted by the crossover.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.