The Walking Dead’s just-released season 9 San Diego Comic-Con trailer reveals multiple new faces, including characters adapted from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series and never-before-seen originals created for the show.
“We have some really cool new characters for comic book fans. You'll get to see some familiar faces,” longtime series writer-producer and newly-minted season 9 showrunner Angela Kang said at The Walking Dead’s Comic-Con panel Friday.
She previously told The Wrap the refreshed season will delve into the already established relationships between series veterans Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), while exploring a wider world and its accompanying fresh faces.
“There will be some intriguing new people that our people run across,” Kang said. “We’re going to be looking a lot at what it means to have a civilization.”
Nadia Hilkes (The 100) plays Magna, a survivor who says she “waited tables at a truck stop.”
In the comics, Magna was the elected leader of a small pack of travelers first encountered by Jesus in the Washington D.C. area at the start of the ‘A New Beginning’ storyline. Magna and her group — Yumiko, Kelly, Connie, and Luke — are integrated into the Alexandria Safe-Zone. Magna and Yumiko are later revealed to be girlfriends.
Eleanor Matsuura (Into the Badlands) plays Yumiko, who in the comics is Magna’s girlfriend and a member of the newly-reformed Militia brought together to combat the Whisperers — nomadic savages who travel camouflaged in walker skins to move freely among the dead.
Belonging to Magna and Yumiko’s group are sisters Connie (Lauren Ridloff) and Kelly (Angel Theory).
Unlike her comic book counterpart, live-action Connie is deaf and communicates through sign language — a trait carried over from Ridloff, who is deaf. And unlike her comic book counterpart, Kelly is Connie’s alert and protective sister; in the comics, Kelly was a man and Connie’s boyfriend.
Connie introduces herself to Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) as a journalist, but Kelly waves it away as her sister “just being modest.”
Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts) joins as Luke, who is described as “a fatigued survivor who understands there is safety in numbers. He values what is beautiful and hopeful and makes us uniquely human.”
In the comics, Luke is supportive of Magna but initially causes problems when he integrates into Alexandria. At first distrustful of the walled-off community, Luke and Magna infiltrated Andrea’s house to grill her about the too-good-to-be-true Alexandria before accepting it as a safe haven.
When asked who he was before, Luke discloses he was a music teacher.
Zach McGowan (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) boards as Justin, “a hostile Savior not interested in working together with the other communities.” The Savior loyalist is the beefy guy seen tussling with Daryl — twice. The second fight seems to be set off by young Henry (Macsen Lintz), who uses his trusty staff to topple the Savior to the ground.
Jed (Rhys Coiro), “a rebellious Savior who refuses to fall in line,” is seen giving the survivors the most trouble: he engages in an armed standoff with Carol (Melissa McBride), who admits she “just wanted to pull that trigger,” and is later seen holding a blade to Carol’s throat and grappling with Aaron (Ross Marquand).
Husband and wife Earl (John Finn) and Tammy Rose (Brett Butler) will be introduced as a couple and residents of the Hilltop. Earl is Hilltop’s blacksmith and devoted husband to the “salt-of-the-earth” Tammy Rose.
In the comics, Earl Sutton is a simple and easy-going handyman who takes Carl Grimes under his wing and mentors the boy as a blacksmith. There, Tammy Rose was a little-seen background character and wife to Morton Rose and mother of Brandon Rose. Tammy was against Maggie’s rise to the position of leader, saying the widowed mother showed up and began barking orders.
Going off the trailer, Earl looks to be the one to cause trouble — he's seen with his hands bound and seemingly awaiting punishment.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC with its season 9 premiere Sunday, October 7.