The Whisperers made a deafening statement when they reached The Walking Dead Sunday, issuing a vicious warning and spilling first blood with the death of Jesus (Tom Payne).
Ryan Hurst, who premieres as Whisperers second in command Beta when the back half of Season Nine returns to AMC in 2019, issued another warning on Twitter Thursday, tweeting, “We talk low. We walk slow. We kill... everyone.”
The enemy group — a pack of territorial and barbaric human survivors who camouflage themselves with fleshy disguises repurposed from walkers — racked up a sizable body count in creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books, counting Rosita, Father Gabriel and King Ezekiel among their victims.
Hurst’s Beta can be seen grappling with Daryl (Norman Reedus) in the first-look trailer for the remaining half of the season, also set to introduce unforgiving Whisperers leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her daughter, Lydia (Cassady McClincy).
Beta is the towering seven-foot-something-tall number two of the Whisperers, who in the comics wields a pair of over-sized knives and is ferociously loyal to Alpha. He is equally protective of his true face, never revealing his true identity — and going so far as to slay other Whisperers should the underlings overstep their boundaries.
“I think with Samantha and Ryan coming into the show, they've brought so much energy and excitement in,” showrunner Angela Kang told ComicBook.com. “The two of them are, first of all, very excited to work on the show. But also, our actors are excited to work with them.”
Hurst, Morton and McClincy are the latest stars to board the revitalized Season Nine in the wake of the departures of Rick Grimes star Andrew Lincoln and Maggie Rhee star Lauren Cohan, whose exits gave way to an influx of new characters led by wary newcomer Magna (Nadia Hilkes).
“They are such talented people,” Kang said of the fresh series stars.
“And so, in that way, there’s been multiple points in the season where just exciting little groups of people have come in, and it always just energizes the cast. They step up their game. I think the work that [director and special effects makeup artist] Greg Nicotero and the visual effects group has done to create the looks for [the Whisperers]... what they have is some of my favorite stuff that I’ve seen so far in the show.”
Also expected to play out in the back eight of the season is the comic book dynamic between Beta and a freshly escaped Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), as the two Walking Dead stars are good friends off-screen. The comics saw the two larger-than-life figures clash as result of their wildly differing personalities and worldviews, and played into Negan’s redemptive arc.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with new episodes Sunday, February 10 at 9/8c.