‘The Walking Dead’: Alpha Star Samantha Morton on Living up to Andrew Lincoln’s Legacy

Samantha Morton, who plays leading villain Alpha of the Whisperers on The Walking Dead, has embraced the responsibility of living up to the legacy set by former series leading man Andrew Lincoln.

“His legacy and what he has created is incredibly inspiring, he set the standard very high. I feel like this is a really special baby that I have been handed and I need to be really careful with it,” Morton told Radio 1 Newsbeat.

Despite the loss of Lincoln, whose Rick Grimes permanently exited the television show for a movie franchise ahead of Alpha’s introduction, The Walking Dead has earned its best critical ratings in the show’s nine-year history under veteran writer-producer Angela Kang, who succeeded Scott Gimple as showrunner in Season Nine.

“The show is bigger than any one part and we serve the show and we are all a family in that way,” Morton said.

"You very quickly realize it is a well-oiled machine, they know what they are doing and they do it incredibly well. Just because the show has been going on a long time it doesn’t mean that people aren’t still at the top of their game.”

If anything, she added, “the stakes are higher, there is a huge legacy there that needs to be carried on, it’s [an] honor to be a part of the show.”

Lincoln lingered on The Walking Dead set after his final episode, aired in November, revealing in October Morton “scared the bejeezus out of all the crew.”

“Someone was doing an impersonation of a scene that she did, and even that scared me... I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s really scary,’” Lincoln said at New York Comic Con of Morton, who Lincoln reported was “so wonderful and loving being here.”

“These kind of roles usually go to men, so that’s why she’s thrilled, and she’s giving it extraordinary attention and care,” he added. “So I think we’re very, very fortunate to have her.”

Morton has in the past declared Alpha doesn’t see herself as a villain despite her horrific and cruel actions, telling Radio 1, “I don’t think Alpha is particularly aware she is a baddie.”

“She is just following her principles and living her life the way she thinks she should live her life. I think there is a conviction, a power and a femininity in that,” Morton said of Alpha, whose cult of followers clad themselves in the flesh of skinned walkers.

“What Alpha does is really clever, why would you not do that?”

The Walking Dead premieres new episodes Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.

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