'The Walking Dead' Producers on Why They Chose to Introduce The Whisperers

Fans of The Walking Dead were treated to quite the surprise this weekend when the first trailer for Season Nine was released during the show's panel at San Diego Comic-Con, ending with the introduction of the Whisperers.

The clan of villains who walk among the dead have become one of the most talked-about groups throughout the comics, and many have been waiting for their debut on the AMC series. Judging by the trailer, it looks as though that will finally take place this season.

During a press conference after the Comic-Con panel, which many of the producers and stars of the show attended, EP and director Greg Nicotero was asked about the decision to bring on the Whisperers, and why the trailer was the right time to introduce them.

"Well, listen, we're super proud of the trailer," Nicotero began. "I watched it as we were cutting it together numerous times, and we really wanted to come out of the gate this year showing you guys that the show has been reinvented. We get to see Washington, D.C. and that great shot of Rick on horseback riding through and bashing the head in of a walker. So, with the new characters that we saw in the trailer and just that little tease at the end, for me personally I think it's one of the most exciting times that has been on the show in a long time because we have this new threat. It was really well-introduced in the comic book and it was something really exciting. Knowing that we did that little bit of a tease, I love that that's where the show is headed. It's just different. It's something we've never done before."

​"Well, it's a slightly new timeline," added producer Scott Gimple. "It is a new interpersonal kind of issues that lead not only to different kind of conflicts, but seeing character combinations so deeply sort of tied up with each other, that even though we've seen these characters for years and years, we just haven't seen this. There's so much new in this. I've worked on this with [Showrunner] Angela [Kang] to get things going in a support capacity, but I will say I've never been more of, like, a fan than I have before I was on the show. I see dailies a little bit, but I get to watch the shows new, almost like as the first fan, which is a heavy, heavy responsibility."

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While it's still unclear when exactly the characters will be appearing, their introduction will happen during the course of this new season. The Walking Dead has already cast actress Samantha Morton as Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers.

The Walking Dead will return for its ninth season in the fall. Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET on AMC, returning for the second half of its fourth season on August 12th. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.