The first part of the Whisperer War reached The Walking Dead in Sunday's 1011, "Morning Star," pitting Daryl (Norman Reedus) and the survivor militia against Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her army of walkers and Whisperers. Rejected by defector daughter Lydia (Cassady McClincy), who refused to kill her mother and take over as pack leader, Alpha has unleashed her walker horde to butcher and consume the allied communities. Alpha and her followers, including Beta (Ryan Hurst) and a masked Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), first marched on Hilltop, where the skin-wearing Whisperers assaulted the colony with flaming arrows that trapped the militia between a blaze and Alpha's walker horde.
That cliffhanger will be resolved in episode 1012, "Walk With Us," matching the two-parter in issues #160 and #161 of creator Robert Kirkman's comic books. There the Whisperer War played out with similar beats but key differences, including major roles for Carl Grimes and Hilltop leader Maggie Rhee.
Spoilers follow for The Walking Dead comic book and "Morning Star":
Alpha Was Already Dead
In "Morning Star," Alpha commands her legion of walkers and Whisperers in the attack on Hilltop. By this point in the comic book, Alpha had already been murdered by Negan, who embedded himself within the Whisperer ranks to take her head as a trophy for Alexandria leader Rick Grimes.
Negan Wasn't Present — or a Whisperer
Unlike his live-action counterpart, Negan's calls for a skin suit were never answered. Negan was not among the Whisperer ranks or present during their attack on Hilltop, and instead was mourning the loss of beloved barbwire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille — named after his late wife — which shattered when he engaged Beta in a brutal brawl.
Meanwhile, Michonne disguised herself as a Whisperer when battling the skin freaks alongside Dwight's army. In the show, Michonne (Danai Gurira) set sail days earlier with Virgil (Kevin Carroll) with plans to retrieve weapons capable of taking out the walker horde.
Carl Grimes to the Rescue
By the time of The Walking Dead Season 10, Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) has been dead for eight years. At this point in the comic books, Carl had relocated to the Hilltop and was romantically involved with Lydia, a relationship given to Henry (Matt Lintz) in the television show.
Carl was nearly killed when evacuating the Barrington House after it went up in flames. After he became trapped and fell unconscious, Carl was rescued by Aaron, who was laid up in the Hilltop infirmary recuperating from wounds given to him during a near-fatal encounter with Beta. This was remixed in the show with Rosita (Christian Serratos), who was sent to Hilltop to receive medical care after her own run-in with the towering Whisperer.
Maggie Rhee Defended Her Home
In "Morning Star," Hilltop leader Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan) is away from home, off someplace far assisting Georgie (Jayne Atkinson) with a new community. Following the deaths of interim community leaders Jesus (Tom Payne) and Tara (Alanna Masterson), both murdered by the Whisperers, the Hilltop is led by newest residents King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura) in Maggie's absence.
Issue #161 saw a horrified Maggie race into the burning Barrington House to retrieve Hershel, her son fathered by Glenn, and Sophia, her adopted daughter. Hilltop member Dante — revealed as a Whisperer spy in the television show because of Cohan's temporary absence — led the charge in the battle, which ended with Maggie uttering a sarcastic "yay" as a victorious Hilltop burned.
Daryl Dixon Didn't Exist
Daryl takes command as Hilltop goes to war in "Morning Star," visiting the graves of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) before putting himself on the frontlines in the Whisperer War, a big change from the books where Daryl never existed. In the show, Daryl has stepped up as a reluctant leader following the disappearance and presumed death of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
Long Live the King
Ezekiel, along with loyal adviser Jerry (Cooper Andrews), are among the militia members on the frontlines when the walker army forces itself into Hilltop in "Morning Star." Ezekiel has become a leader in the community following the shuttering of the Kingdom, even reigniting his relationship with estranged wife Carol (Melissa McBride).
But in the comic books, Ezekiel was among the victims slain by Alpha when she marked Whisperer territory with decapitated heads gruesomely displayed atop spikes.
Showrunner on Necessary Changes
"We're all so inspired by the comics," showrunner Angela Kang said of deviations from the comic book during PaleyFest 2019. "Kirkman is such a master of the page-turner. You read it and it's like a juicy, juicy, just fun comic book to read. There's so many wonderful, iconic moments in the comics. Moments you get to and just say, 'Oh my God, I can't believe he just did that. I have to see this on screen!'"
She continued, "As writers, as with any fans of the comics, we have those same responses. But with the show we have such a different array of characters and such different circumstances that it’s never going to be exactly the comic, nor should it be. It's a different medium."