The first 16 episodes of the tenth season of The Walking Dead are in the books now. Alpha, Beta, and The Whisperers have been defeated, and the Commonwealth soldiers have been introduced. There are still a number of outstanding questions as we head into the six bonus episodes for Season 10, but perhaps the most pressing one is this: who is the masked ninja introduced in the 15th episode and revealed to be a companion of Maggie’s in the 16th episode?
Why put this ninja in a mask if not to create some mystery around this person’s identity? Who could it be? The Internet has been brewing up some theories on this for several weeks now, and these are the leading contenders:
Duane Jones — One theory that sounds very far-fetched to me, but that has gained some traction in the fan community is that the masked ninja is Duane Jones, the son of Morgan. Fans of the series may recall that Morgan Jones went mad after his son, Duane, died trying to put down his zombiefied mother. However, this theory suggests that since we never actually saw Duane die that perhaps Morgan didn’t see him die, either, and that Duane disappeared and has somehow resurfaced and taken on the identity of the masked stranger. This one is a super long shot.
Troy Otto — This theory, popularized by Forbes, again presupposes that a character we believe is dead — Madison Clark killed him with a hammer in the season three finale — actually survived his injury. We never saw Troy Otto die, ergo, he must have not-died, left the Mexico border, and traveled to wherever Maggie has been and learned a lot of ninja skills. I have my doubts about this theory, as well, mostly because what made Troy so interesting — he was a charismatic, morally dubious sleazeball — also makes him a very unlikely companion to Maggie.
Eduardo — Eduardo is a relatively minor character who was a guard at The Hilltop and appeared in a number of episodes during seasons six through eight. He hasn’t been seen since season 8, but at one point, showrunner Angela Kang said that the character was still alive (and probably still residing at The Hilltop, back when The Hilltop still existed). I’m not keen on this theory if only because Eduardo would not actually be a particularly interesting reveal. Most fans probably don’t even remember him. A lot of red shirts have come through The Hilltop, and there’s little reason to give this role to a largely forgettable character.
Heath — We haven’t seen Heath since midway through the seventh season of The Walking Dead when Corey Hawkins — the character who plays Heath — left the series to do the 24 revival, which was canceled after one season. There is no reason to believe that he is no longer alive, and Scott Gimple has suggested that his return to the series is possible. That would be a fun reveal, but it’s unlikely for the same reasons that Corey Hawkins left the series to begin with: He’s very busy and very in-demand.
Mercer — Mercer is a character in the comics, who is the military leader of the Commonwealth. A number of people immediately theorized that the masked person could be Mercer as soon as we first caught a glimpse of him. However, Angela Kang has definitively ruled out that possibility.
Midge or Hilda — Remember Midge and Hilda, the twins flanking Georgie when she was originally introduced? It could be one of them, because, after all, they are the only people other than Georgie with whom we are familiar from that group of people, with whom we know Maggie has been living in recent years. It wouldn’t be that interesting, but it would make sense.
Madison Clark — This is obviously a huge longshot, but Madison — who was killed off in the fourth season of Fear the Walking Dead — was last seen striking a flare and lighting up a horde of oil-soaked zombies. She was presumed dead but, again, we never saw her die. If she was severely burnt in that incident but survived, it would explain why she’s wearing a mask, wouldn’t it? And she has had roughly seven or eight years since that incident in The Walking Dead timeline to learn how to be a ninja assassin. No problem!
It could also be no one we have ever met or heard of before. The good news is, we will be finding out in the Spring when The Walking Dead returns, because Angela Kang said that the bonus episodes will fill us in on Maggie’s whereabouts since she left Alexandria. We are also expected to see Maggie confront Negan for the first time since nearly killing him in Season 9. It should be a great six episodes.