'The Walking Dead' Showrunner Opens Up on Magna's Group

The Walking Dead introduced a group of characters from its comic book source material with Episode 9x06 after a brief debut one week prior. These new faces have similarities to the survivors fans have known for years but are bringing very unique flavors to the AMC show, at the same time.

"They’re very similar to our characters in that they were able to survive a long time on the road. They’re very tight-knit," The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang tells EW. "They are a group that considers themselves a family. In that way, there’s more a parallel to our characters than totally different. But at the same time, because they are their own unique individuals, and they’ve done things their own, and they’ve been out there a lot longer, there are some differences. They’re incredibly capable, like our people are, but there’s a scrappiness to them that they’ve maintained over years because they haven’t found that kind of place to call home for a long time."

The new characters are Magna, Connie, Kelly, Yumiko, and Luke. Each of them first appeared in issue #127 of The Walking Dead comics.

With Lauren Ridloff joining the cast as Connie, The Walking Dead has introduced its first deaf cast member and character, as sign language becomes a factor for the first time. "Plus, Connie is deaf," Kang said. "We’ve made part of the mythology of this group that they’ve been together and they’ve all learned sign language in order to communicate better with her, but it’s something that is a survival skill for them as well. We’ll seen in an episode that they can use that to be silent, basically, when they’re in the presence of zombies. It gives them a special shorthand and special kind of skill of communication that other groups we haven’t seen have that."

Beside Ridloff are cast members such as Angel Theory and Dan Fogler, each of which come with their own respective fanbases. It's no surprise they have fit into The Walking Dead family quite easily.

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"And with Dan Fogler, who plays Luke, he’s just hysterical and really charming," Kang said. "A lot of times, this show can be very serious, but this year we wanted to play a little bit more with people who are using humor as a survival tactic or to deal with serious situations. It’s something that he uses to disarm people, and to make friends quickly, and to make allies, because that’s one of the things we’re dealing with. When a group comes in from the outside, how do they become trusted? How do they become a friend? We’re just openly using humor as a tactic with that character, which has been a lot of fun."

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.