‘The Walking Dead’ Is Giving Daryl a New Adversary

The Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) looks to be getting a new arch rival in Whisperer Beta (Ryan Hurst), giving Daryl his first chief adversary since former Savior Dwight (Austin Amelio).

“The best thing that I can hint at is one of the things that I was excited about; the entire cast is so phenomenal, and what I can hint at is, I guess, to say that Daryl and Beta cross paths, and they see that they’re very similar and very different at the same time, but that they’re worthy adversaries,” Hurst told EW.

“It’s probably one of the first worthy adversaries that the show has presented to Norman’s character because he’s just such a unique badass, but I guess that’s the best thing is we sort of little by little start to see more and more about who Beta is and put him in some really badass scenarios.”

Daryl and Beta will first clash in Sunday’s 913, ‘Chokepoint,’ when leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) sicks Beta and a pack of Whisperers after the fleeing Daryl, Connie (Lauren Ridloff), and Henry (Matt Lintz), who liberated Alpha’s abused daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy).

“Being a huge fan of the show, when I first read it in the script, I was really, really excited. Without giving away too much, it’s a three-page fight scene. So it just kinda goes on and on,” Hurst told INSIDER when teasing the vicious brawl that goes down in an old office building.

“Norman and I worked on it for a week and a half. It was a lot of fun to put together.”

It remains to be seen if Daryl — who doesn’t exist in creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books — will assume a role filled in the books by Negan, who emerges as Beta’s chief rival after coming face-to-face with Alpha and the Whisperers.

Negan star Jeffrey Dean Morgan previously said he hopes to realize the Negan-Beta storyline, admitting he would be “very disappointed” if that antagonism doesn’t find its way into the show:

“I love all the stuff with Beta and, as you know, we’ve added a couple amazing characters to this cast,” Morgan said.

“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.”

One such storyline was the dynamic between a jailed Negan and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), a thread now unfolding instead between Negan and Carl’s half-sister Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming).

“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 of Negan’s collision with the Whisperers, which plays a key role in Negan’s path towards peace and redemption.

“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.”

Whatever the future holds for Beta, Hurst expects the mask-wearing villain to be a thorn in the survivors’ sides for seasons to come.

“My take on him was he’s very close to Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men. Everyone in the Whisperers wears masks for different reasons, and I’m not gonna reveal too much, but Beta especially is not only is not playing with a full deck, he’s playing with six full decks from five different games. The guy’s sort of impenetrable because he’s just not playing by the same set of rules as anybody else. And more so than a lot of characters on the show, like his sense of humanity is so completely and totally fractured that he lives underneath this mask,” Hurst told EW.

“So what audiences have to look forward to is really that the more you think you know about Beta, the less you do. Only in these coming seasons do we really start to explore, ‘Really who the hell is this guy?’ He’s gonna be a bit of a mystery for quite some time.”

Dwight next resurfaces in spinoff Fear the Walking Dead when it returns to AMC with its fifth season this summer. Daryl exiled Dwight from the Virginia settlements under threat of death in The Walking Dead’s Season Eight finale.

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

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