AMC has released a look at the back half of The Walking Dead Season Nine, bringing with it the first peek at Whisperers Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Beta (Ryan Hurst).
Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln, who has since exited the mothership series, teased Morton's Whisperer leader Alpha is a "scary" force to be reckoned with.
"She's scared the bejeezus out of all the crew, actually," Lincoln said during New York Comic Con when talk turned to the villainess. "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.'"
Alpha emerges in the post-war era of creator Robert Kirkman's comic books, now being explored on the show, where Alpha is the ruthless and uncompromising leader of the barbaric Whisperers — a savage, cult-like enemy group who camouflage themselves in the flesh of the undead.
The bald-headed villain will be joined by teenaged daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and viciously loyal right-hand man Beta, who play major roles moving forward once the now-revealed Whisperers encroach on the relatively peaceful life being enjoyed by Michonne (Danai Gurira), Carol (Melissa McBride) and the other survivors.
The new enemy group have already claimed their first victim: interim Hilltop leader Jesus (Tom Payne), who was cut down in a cemetery as a warning against invading Whisperer territory.
New showrunner Angela Kang noted Morton has been working with a dialect coach and learning a "brand new accent that she didn't know at all," and has embraced the grimy outerwear famously sported by her comic book counterpart.
"Our cast don't care about being glamorous — they want to be real. They want it to be dirty, they want it to be hard, and she embraces that," Kang said at New York Comic Con.
"She's that kind of actor. I think the actors that are in the cast, they've really had a good time playing with her, because they can feel that commitment of, 'I'm in it for the ride.'"
Director-producer Greg Nicotero has described Morton's Alpha as "chilling," telling Access one scene centered around her character is "one of the best scenes we shot all season."
"I left set and the I went back to the makeup effects trailer with my crew, and they were like, 'I can't wait to see this season,'" Nicotero said. "My crew, the people that work on the show, are excited about it!"
The Walking Dead returns to AMC February 2019.