The Walking Dead will show what lies hidden beneath the fleshy mask of Ryan Hurst’s Beta, showrunner Angela Kang confirms. Following the Whisperer-focused 10x02, “We Are the End of the World,” which revealed the origins of Beta’s relationship with eventual pack leader Alpha (Samantha Morton), audiences will later see what Alpha saw when she peeked beneath early-Beta’s balaclava during their first meeting — and it will be weird. Season 10 will continue to dangle that carrot, but Hurst has hinted Beta’s face belongs to a celebrity, as it did in the comic books: there Beta was recognized as a notable NBA player. In the world of the show, his past profession appears to have been a country music performer.
“We will. Yes, we will,” Kang told EW when asked if we’ll ever see Beta’s bare face. “And it will be Walking Dead weird.”
In a flashback set seven years before current action, Alpha meets Beta when taking refuge from walkers in a rehab facility now serving as Beta’s lair. It’s there Alpha kills an advancing walker, unaware of its important to Beta: as Hurst revealed in post-episode discussions, the important person was Beta’s best friend. Kang adds there’s more to learn about this friend, whose face was fashioned into the mask Beta now refuses to remove.
“In our backstory, we were saying that this place is some sort of rehab facility or like a medical place. And we think that this person was — I can’t give away every sort of thing that we think about him because there’s a backstory to Beta — but somebody that really helped keep Beta stable and was helping him stay on track, perhaps like a sponsor or somebody just close in that sort of way, like an emotionally close bond,” Kang explained. “Somebody that, the loss of this person at the beginning of the apocalypse would cause him to just be in his own head, feel trapped until Alpha unleashed the apocalypse version of Beta that we know and love and hate.”
Was Alpha a replacement, someone new to follow after the loss of this person? “Yeah, I think so,” Kang said. “And yet he carries this person’s face and his shirt. So Beta hangs on to things. That’s what we know about him.”
According to Hurst, who pitched the backstory, Beta’s loss of celebrity played a part in his descent into madness. While we’ll learn more secrets about Beta in time, Hurst is sure to retain an element of mystery surrounding the character.
“I had some different ideas that were sort of contradictory to some other stuff that was established in the comic books, so I think we’re on the right path,” Hurst told EW. “There’s still a lot of secrets behind who Beta was that we’ll investigate more and more. But you know, I like to dangle a carrot.”
New episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.