The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 8 The Whisperers
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Credit: AMC

Walking Dead showrunner explains why it was high time to introduce the Whisperers

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Nov 27, 2018, 12:02 PM EST (Updated)

Sunday's midseason finale of The Walking Dead featured the long-awaited arrival of the antagonistic Whisperers, humans that wear the skin of the dead so as to walk among the flesh-eating zombies. They're also pretty nuts, stabbing and killing Jesus (Tom Payne).

We'll learn a lot more about the Whisperers when the second half of Season 9 returns in the new year, but showrunner Angela Kang felt that it was important to bring them into the fray now rather than later. In fact, the original plan was to introduce them in the second half of the season. 

"My preference for story is that if you kind of introduce a mystery, you don't drag it out too, too long. It just felt [right] for the rhythm of the show," Kang said during a chat with Insider. "For the comic-book readers, they know exactly who the Whisperers are from the beginning and I felt, for me, as just a fan and a viewer, I would have been frustrated if we didn't get an answer within the mid-season."

The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 8 The Whisperers

Credit: AMC

It was a smart move, especially since a trailer from back in September already gave away the fact that they'd be showing up in the new season.

"This was a conversation with multiple people about, 'Do you hold the reveal until after the break?' And I was like, 'No, no, no. You introduce the mystery and then there's an answer to this little chapter of it and then we start the next little chapter when we open up the mid-season [premiere next year].' That felt cleaner to me," Kang added. 

We also know that their leaders, Alpha and Beta, will be played by Samantha Morton (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy) respectively. 

"These are just great, great actors who kind of folded in so seamlessly and are wonderful people to work with. I'm excited for people to see their work," said Kang, also teasing "the return of a familiar character," an exploration of what exactly happened during the six-year flash forward, and "something we've never done on the show before in the back-half of the season that I think fans will be into."

Season 9 of The Walking Dead shambles back onto AMC Sunday, February 10.