Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x09 follow. Major spoilers!
To conclude the first Walking Dead episode of the new year (which saw an uptick in ratings), Alpha presented herself in true-to-the-comics form to point a double barrel shotgun at her new hostages. Though the TV series has been deviating from the comics extensively in recent years, Nicotero and company were proud to bring a panel from issue #132 to life.
"I've been giving kudos to [showrunner] Angela [Kang] for a year for her impeccable casting choices," Nicotero told ComicBook.com. "Because I really feel like she is taking the show to a whole new level with her casting. And with Samantha, Samantha showed up, man, she literally was like, this is a role of a lifetime to be able to play this character that is so nuanced, and has such depth and such complexity to it."
After casting Alpha, Nicotero wanted to be sure his team went the extra mile in designing the character for television.
"We've talked about putting a bald cap on her, shaving her head," Nicotero explained. "I had some friends in London do a head cast, and then they shipped the head cast to LA, and we designed Alpha's mask, you know what I mean? Just the design of the Whisperer masks themselves, was something that we were really excited about because it gives you that opportunity to create these faceless emotionless killers."
Now, the Whisperers are bringing a villainous evolution to The Walking Dead. "We've spent nine years seeing the dead clouded eyes of walkers," Nicotero said, "so to contrast the dead rotting skin with Samantha's blue eyes and just that coldness that is behind them, it was amazing. And I'm so in love with her as an actress, and I'm so grateful for what she brings to the show."
Fans of Morton, Alpha, and the Whisperers can look forward to seeing and learn more about the character in Sunday's Episode 9x10 which will feature flashback sequence to unveil a surprising origin story.
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.