(Spoilers from AMC’s The Walking Dead will be found below.)
At the end of a powerful episode of The Walking Dead which saw the exit of Rick Grimes from the series (more on that here), the action jumps ahead six or seven years into the future, which we know because the episode’s final scene features a Judith Grimes who is now around 10 years old.
Judith is confronted by a group of people five escaping a herd of zombies. They introduce themselves to Judith as Magna (Nadia Hilker), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Kelly (Angel Theory), and Luke (Dan Fogler). They’re new characters on The Walking Dead, and their introduction means two things. First off, it means that after five off-book episodes that set up Rick’s exit from the series, the story is returning to Robert Kirkman’s source material.
(Comic Spoilers to Follow)
More importantly, it means that The Whisperers are not far behind. In the comics, Magna is introduced to the series right after the end of the All-Out War (which also comes immediately after a time jump). Jesus discovers her while diverting a herd of zombies away from Alexandria. In the comics, Magna is also joined by Connie, Kelly Luke, and Yumiko (who is Magna’s girlfriend). Connie is deaf in the television series, as is the actress who plays her, Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff. Four of the five of those characters are still alive in Kirkman’s comics, so get used to seeing them on the series for awhile.
While they are all set to become valuable members of The Walking Dead community, their presence mostly signals to readers of the comics the impending arrival of The Whisperers (Magna is introduced in Issue 127, while The Whisperers arrive in Issue 130). We won’t be waiting long for The Whisperers. They are seen in the season 9 trailer for The Walking Dead, and the leader of The Whisperers, Alpha, has already been cast. She’ll be played by Samantha Morton (which is perfect casting).
The Whisperers are a nomadic group, most notable for disguising themselves as zombies and traveling among them. Their arrival also means that Negan will likely be freed from prison soon to help Alexandria contend with the threat.