The Walking Dead's current villains have a unique view on the dead, walking among them, and using them as tools which is something showrunner Angela Kang put a lot of deep thought into.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x13 follow. Major spoilers!
To start Episode 9x13, the Whisperers were recovering from a walker attack on the camp. While most survivors introduced on the show choose to put down their peers after a scratch or bite claims them, the Whisperers do quite the opposite. As revealed by Beta, the group looks forward to their own turning into "Guardians" (a term used for zombies by the Whisperers) and will then be protecting the rest of the survivors.
"We were just thinking a lot internally about… If you’re the Whisperers, what is your attitude towards zombies?" Kang told EW. "It’s clearly not the same attitude we have towards them. They’re not seen as a threat in the same way. In a lot of ways they have used the zombies, used their skins, but also just their physical presence to protect them. There’s something that’s so cult-like in a lot of ways about how the Whisperers think, and the way they behave, and the way they call Alpha, Alpha and Beta, Beta. It made sense to me and the other writers that they would try to make it seem like if you die and you’re a warrior, that this is a thing of honor, and you will always be with us."
The Whisperers have already put their barbaric thought processes on display several times over. First, the group's leader Alpha was willing to let a baby be eaten by the dead as a means of natural selection playing out. Then, she was willing to let her daughter Lydia be killed if she was too weak to kill a member of the Hilltop community.
Now, priding themselves in turning into walkers as a means to protect the group is simply the next step in establishing the group's bizarre mythology.
"It’s part of making that entire philosophy feel as if it’s one piece, and putting importance on different things than our people would," Kang said. "We thought that it was interesting in this episode, which really kind of deals with what we call the Field Team Six of the Whisperers. That that’s part of their warrior mythology, it’s like you die and then you still are with us forever, which felt kind of true to the general belief system that they have."
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.
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