The Walking Dead on Sunday introduces Beta (Sons of Anarchy’s Ryan Hurst), chief enforcer to Whisperers leader Alpha (Samantha Morton).
A towering and imposing figure, Beta is first seen manhandling Henry (Matt Lintz) after the teen sneaks away to pursue Lydia (Cassady McClincy), Alpha’s daughter who was begrudgingly returned to the Whisperers by Daryl (Norman Reedus).
Daryl has since teamed with Dog and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) in pursuit, forcing the trio to venture into Whisperer territory to reclaim Henry or suffer the deadly consequences.
In creator Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, Beta is a seven-something-foot-tall behemoth who ferociously protects his “true identity.” Unlike other Whisperers, who remove the masks and disguises they make from skinned walkers, Beta refuses to remove his fleshy mask, wearing it at all times.
Beta is so protective of his true face he’s murdered underling Whisperers who have caught glimpses of what lies beneath the mask.
It would later be revealed Beta was once a well-known basketball player who was famous enough to appear in a movie and headline a series of car commercials. Though his true name went unrevealed, Beta’s unmasked face was recognized by Aaron and Jesus.
The books eventually brought Beta into wider conflict with a militia assembled by the united communities to combat the Whisperer army, who at one time are commanded by Beta. It’s there Beta is responsible for the gruesome death of a comic book character who has since emerged in a pivotal role in The Walking Dead television show.
Beta also developed a rivalry with a freed Negan, who once shattered his beloved baseball bat Lucille — affectionately named after his late wife — when battling Beta, nicknamed “Frowny McTwoknives” by Negan in reference to the pair of dual blades wielded by the hulking Whisperer.
Negan star Jeffrey Dean Morgan hopes to see this storyline realized for the show, admitting he would be “very disappointed” if Negan doesn’t cross paths with the Whisperers.
“I love all the stuff with Beta and, as you know, we’ve added a couple amazing characters to this cast. I hope to god that Negan makes it to those scenes and that we decide that that’s not going to be a part of the comic we don’t do, y’know? There’s been that. I’ve looked forward to some storylines and then they haven’t come to pass,” Morgan said.
“I hope that those happen because as a fan of the comic I think they were very important moments. And as a fan of this character, I think they’re very important for the Negan storyline. If Negan’s storyline is just what we’ve seen so far, I’d be very disappointed because I think there’s so much more to this character.”
“I think with Samantha and Ryan coming into the show, they've brought so much energy and excitement in,” showrunner Angela Kang previously told ComicBook.com. “The two of them are, first of all, very excited to work on the show. But also, our actors are excited to work with them.”
Beta debuts in The Walking Dead 912, ‘Guardians,’ premiering tonight at 9/8c on AMC.
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