Sunday’s The Walking Dead 912, ‘Guardians,’ unleashes Whisperer Beta (Ryan Hurst), right-hand man of leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) must now head into dangerous Whisperer territory to recover Henry (Matt Lintz), who followed Lydia (Cassady McClincy) after she was returned to her abusive mother and the Whisperers.
“I think with Samantha and Ryan coming into the show, they've brought so much energy and excitement in,” showrunner Angela Kang previously 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.”
A towering and vicious figure, Beta of the comic books is a towering seven-foot-something-tall enforcer who wields a pair of over-sized knives and hides himself beneath a fleshy mask made from walker skin. Unlike the other Whisperers, Beta is fiercely protective of his true face and refuses to reveal his identity.
“The Whisperers are badass, we’re excited. That’s a formidable foe,” Negan star Jeffrey Dean Morgan told ET during San Diego Comic-Con in July. “They’re definitely, I think, more screwed up than Negan. Negan’s a bit of a mess, but these guys take it to a whole ‘nother level, the Whisperers, so I think it’s kind of exciting.”
Hurst and Morgan are good friends off-screen and are expected to play out the Beta-Negan rivalry that existed in creator Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, where the two were larger-than-life figures clashing as result of their wildly differing personalities and worldviews.
“I love all the stuff with Beta and, as you know, we’ve added a couple amazing characters to this cast,” Morgan previously told Screen Rant.
“I hope to god that Negan makes it to those scenes and that we decide that that’s not going to be a part of the comic we don’t do, y’know? There’s been that. I’ve looked forward to some storylines and then they haven’t come to pass.”
In the books, Negan and Beta emerge as rivals when Negan escapes his Alexandrian jail cell and temporarily takes up with the Whisperers. Though Morgan’s Negan has since returned to jail after his capture by Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming), Morgan hopes to see Negan’s comic book story with Beta and the Whisperers realized.
“I hope that those happen because as a fan of the comic I think they were very important moments. And as a fan of this character, I think they’re very important for the Negan storyline,” Morgan said.
“If Negan’s storyline is just what we’ve seen so far, I’d be very disappointed because I think there’s so much more to this character.”
Beta debuts in ‘Guardians,’ premiering Sunday, March 3 at 9/8c on AMC.
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