Ryan Hurst reveals why The Walking Dead finished off Beta with a whisper, not a scream, in Sunday's Season 10 finale. "A Certain Doom" sees Beta, hellbent on revenge after the death of Alpha (Samantha Morton), unleashing a walker horde when engaging the final battle of the Whisperer War. When a small group of survivors led by Daryl (Norman Reedus) infiltrates the zombie swarm, picking off Beta's human army hidden among the dead, Daryl plunges his dual blades into Beta's eyes. Alpha's horde descends upon a still-living but eerily quiet Beta and devours him, silencing the Whisperers once and for all.
"I just saw him going out silently. I kind of wanted him to go out like a Buddhist monk setting himself on fire," Hurst said in an exit interview aired on Talking Dead. "I'm such a fan of the show, I've seen so many brilliant deaths on the show. As a viewer, I wanted to see something that we hadn't seen before, and somebody who really genuinely welcomed his demise."
He continued, "So I started kicking it around, and then I talked to Angela [Kang, showrunner] about it, and Greg [Nicotero, director] about it, just this idea of him being swallowed up and happy that he's [dying]."
Hurst pitched a lengthy Beta vs. Daryl rematch, circling back to a vicious brawl between the two that occurred in the ninth season. The villain would get a swipe at Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Alpha's killer, before going knife-to-knife with Daryl.
"I was big on, 'Yo, me and Daryl should have a big fight, another knife fight.' They're like, 'No, we're just going to stab him in the head,'" Hurst said. "I was like, 'What if I really get Negan, I stab Negan, I go after Daryl again…?' And Norman was like, 'I think I should just stab him in the face.' So I lost that [fight]."
In an interview with ComicBook.com, Nicotero noted there was "a lot of talk" about how Beta would die to end the Whisperer War. It's a more dramatic death than in the comic book, where Beta is gunned down when attacking Aaron and Jesus.
"Norman had his thoughts and Angela and Corey [Reed, writer] had very specific beats because Norman was like, 'Yeah, I should just stab him and he should die,'" Nicotero said. "I thought the stabbing in the eyes was an interesting idea and I believe it was Norman's. We needed to sort of tell the moment that Beta sort of comes to the horde and becomes part of everything that he had been imagining for the last several episodes, which was that the horde was sort of guiding him and it was this weird destination. I really thought it was a really cool way to resolve that character and give Beta's story a great end."
Hurst has hinted at a Beta prequel story taking place in Tales of the Walking Dead, an episodic anthology series in development at AMC.
The Walking Dead returns with new episodes early 2021 on AMC. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.