Had he not died at the hands of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) in the second season of The Walking Dead, showrunner Angela Kang would have wanted to pit "wild card" Shane (Jon Bernthal) against the Whisperers in the show's tenth season. The hot-headed and unpredictable Shane emerged as Rick's rival when the early Atlanta group took refuge at the Greene family farm, a clash that ended with Shane cut down before the group of survivors could come up against outside threats like the Governor (David Morrissey), Terminus, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and the Whisperers, a territorial pack of skin-wearing killers led by the ruthless Alpha (Samantha Morton).
"Shane," Kang answered on Instagram when asked to name the dead character she most would have wanted to see in Season 10. "He's a wild card character, and that's interesting in a season where big personalities are clashing."
Alpha is up against Carol (Melissa McBride), out to avenge murdered son Henry (Matt Lintz), and Alexandria defenders Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), who were earlier this season begrudgingly abiding by the border law imposed by Alpha. Another wild card in the mix is Negan, the ex-Savior leader turned fugitive and newest recruit of the enemy Whisperers.
Since Shane was killed off in the penultimate episode of Season 2, Bernthal has twice briefly reprised his role: once in Season 3 and again in Season 9, both times as hallucinations of Rick's.
Star Ross Marquand, who has played Aaron since Season 5, recalled Shane's actions in the first two seasons when Season 10 had Aaron question if our heroes — the survivors led by Michonne — are really "the good guys," wondering aloud if they're the "villains of someone else's story."
"I think in this storyline they are very much the good guys," Marquand previously told TV Insider. "We were just talking about Shane, and a lot of the things Shane was doing in Seasons 1 and 2, Rick was very much against. 'We can't do that, we'll lose our humanity.' And I would argue that Rick did way worse from like Season 4 on, lot of bad things."
But there's no reasoning with the Whisperers, whose growing body count includes Jesus (Tom Payne), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Siddiq (Avi Nash), and others.
"I think there's a lot of validity to that thought process of, 'Are you the villain of someone's story? Maybe, fine.' But I think in this instance, the Whisperers are just blood-thirsty psychos," Marquand said. "There's no goodness to them. So I think in this storyline, I don't agree with Aaron's questioning. I think that they are very much the good guys and the Whisperers are the bad guys, if they want to boil it down to such a black-and-white narrative."