When The Walking Dead first hit our TV screens in 2010, a lot of fans were paying attention to the similarities between the small-screen adaptation and its comic book source material. These days, it sometimes feels like it’s easier to count all the differences between the two, because there are so many. From storylines happening out of order to entirely new characters being created, AMC’s version of TWD has definitely become its own monster. However, the series creators have shown that they’re not afraid to keep introducing iconic moments and figures that are familiar to comic readers. In the last few episodes alone, we’ve met Negan and Ezekiel, and have been introduced to yet another new survivor colony, Oceanside.
There are still several key players from Robert Kirkman’s original books that have yet to make an appearance in the TV series. And in many cases, they could be prime to show up any day now. Here are five Walking Dead comic book characters that we haven’t met on-screen — at least, not yet.
With all the huffing, puffing, and slaughtering that Negan has done since he first came on the scene late last season, it seems almost impossible that there could be a villain who is any more disturbing. But as a group, the Whisperers could have Negan and his Saviors beat. This group of survivors is decidedly creepy in just about every conceivable way. They’re vigorously protective of their property and their land, and they punish those who cross them by putting their heads on pikes. Also, they’ve one-upped many of the other groups we’ve met on The Walking Dead because they’ve figured out a way to live side-by-side with the undead, roaming the countryside wearing the skins of walkers they’ve put down. Oh yeah, and they never speak above a whisper.
Their leader is Alpha. She’s whip-smart and is careful not to give too much away when it comes to what she’s thinking, feeling, or planning. Perpetually concerned with survival and self-preservation, she’s willing to do just about anything to keep her people content — and therefore keep herself in charge. And if that means putting those she’s closest to at risk? Well, that’s a risk she just has to take.
We’ve gotten a couple of clues that the Whisperers may be headed our way sooner rather than later. Early Season 7 promotional material hinted at their sinister warning methods. Some casting calls seem to indicate that they’ve been looking to cast the group’s leader, too. If Alpha does show up before season’s end, be prepared for yet another brutal layer to be added to the series, because we’ll find out pretty quickly that she is not messing around — especially if, like in the comics, she goes toe-to-toe with Negan.
There’s no question that Alpha is the driving force behind the Whisperers in the comics — and that will likely be the case if the group materializes on AMC’s The Walking Dead, too. But before long, the need arises for yet another character to take the reigns in the group — and that person is the aptly named Beta.
He’s an imposing figure, with long hair and a penchant for carrying around two large knives. Like Alpha, he spends most of his time wearing protective walker skin; in fact, we haven’t yet seen what his face looks like without it. And he’s willing to do just about anything to defend the Whisperers against their foes — even if that means declaring war on Alexandria, the Saviors, or anyone else that gets in their way.
Carl and Enid’s romance is just beginning on The Walking Dead, and that’s all well and good. But if the Whisperers end up crashing the Season 7 party, their love may be short lived. That’s because Lydia, Alpha’s daughter, could enter the fray along with the rest of the creepy gang. And if her story plays out at all like it did in the comics, then she’ll likely be after the younger Grimes’s affections.
Lydia is a fascinating character — she’s led a particularly hard life since the zombie apocalypse. She’s relied on her mother to stay alive, but has also been woefully and often abusively neglected by her in the process. In spite of the horrors she’s faced, from humans and zombies alike, she has an incredible survival instinct. And despite her young age, she knows what she needs — both physically and emotionally — to thrive.
At this point on The Walking Dead, there are a lot of different groups of survivors to keep track of. We’ve got Alexandria, and the Saviors. We’ve got Hilltop, and now Oceanside, too. But there may be at least one more contingency entering the fray before all is said and done. And though the group from Richmond isn’t all that impressive when it comes to sheer numbers — there’s just six of them — they’ve got some pretty awesome fighters among them.
Perhaps one of the most impressive is Yumiko, who could put Daryl to shame with her crossbow skills. She’s not always in the center of the action in the comics, but she’s more than proven her ability to fight. And Yumiko is also a good strategist; she’s able to discern who’s trustworthy and who isn’t, and once she’s decided to trust someone, she’s prepared to fight to the death to defend not only herself, but them as well.
When we first met Rick Grimes, he was just a humble Georgia sheriff with a simple, if somewhat strained, family life. But in more than six seasons, we’ve learned little else about his life before the apocalypse. In the comics, we get a little bit more information, because we get a chance to spend some time with his brother, Jeff.
Jeff is the main focus of the comic miniseries The Walking Dead: The Alien, and it’s through his adventures that we find out some interesting anecdotes about Rick’s past. Jeff’s story is set in Barcelona — where he was traveling when the outbreak began — so it’s highly unlikely that he and Rick could ever cross paths. But a spinoff story examining what the zombie apocalypse looks like overseas could make for a great web series a’la Flight 462. And if it happened to star the long lost Grimes brother, that would be even better.
Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox
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