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Walking Dead showrunner says double agent twist was inspired by Cold War paranoia
Fans had to bid farewell to Avi Nash's Siddiq in a shocking twist. Sadly, the Alexandria doctor realized too late that his medical partner and friend, Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), was a double agent for the Whisperers and had his life snuffed out via strangulation. For a good chunk of the season, Siddiq has been suffering from PTSD flashbacks to the time he had to witness the Whisperers brutally killing a bunch of people.
"As we were breaking the season, we were talking about what is the nature of the Whisperer war and what are the feelings from the comic books that are interesting?" showrunner Angela Kang told Entertainment Weekly. "And I’ve been talking about how we started thinking about it in terms of a cold war, and then we were like, 'What really makes a cold war, a cold war?' And a lot of it had to do with that feeling of not being certain who to trust, the paranoia, and a lot of that came from what [comic book creator] Robert Kirkman set up in the idea of 'Silence the Whisperers.' All of that idea of propaganda and stuff is in the books. And then we were like, 'Well, it’s also about spies, and there’s a spy aspect to it.' And we haven’t really done that in that way other than Dwight had his own kind of turncoat thing, but this is a different way into it."
Interestingly, the Cold War motif is a direct continuation of the Season 10 premiere, which began with a defunct USSR satellite orbiting the Earth.
"We’re trying to do new things, push in new directions," showrunner/executive producer Kang said at this year's New York Comic Con. “We were just trying to brainstorm different things [we hadn’t seen in the show before and were like,] 'Oh, that’s fun, we haven’t done space in the show.' It plays into the themes of paranoia and always being watched."
Siddiq's death is all the more heartbreaking when you consider the fact that he leaves behind a defenseless baby. His shocking departure is felt not just in the world of the show, but in our reality as well.
"It was really sad. I think Avi has been a wonderful member of the cast, and everybody just really loved him — the cast and crew and the writers. He’s just such a good guy. It’s never a personal thing," Kang continued during her EW interview. "We really enjoyed his time on the show, and he did a really great job with this final arc. He did a ton of research into what people with PTSD go through, and he really was invested in playing the reality of the difficulties there and I think he did a great job. We’ve been in touch since he’s left, and I look forward to seeing what else he does beyond the show, as with everybody who’s an alum of the show. He was wonderful to have."
Season 10 of The Walking Dead will reach its halfway point next Sunday with the airing of its eigth episode, "The World Before."