The war between Rick and Negan’s Saviors is finally over, but there is a new problem brewing on The Walking Dead. And it’s not just Maggie’s secret rebellion. On Sunday’s Season 8 finale, The Walking Dead may have introduced a small sign that signals the arrival of the next major villains, who appeared in the comics after the Saviors. Enter: the Whisperers.
Minor spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 8 finale ahead.
As Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) writhed on the ground in pain from his neck getting sliced by Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Rick makes a grand speech about the new world. Far behind him, there was a vast horde of walkers, as well as a series of nondescript posts immediately to his rear. For once, it’s not the walkers you should pay attention to — it’s the posts.
In the comics, the Whisperers are another survival group who are much darker than the Saviors, distinct for the fact that they wear the skin and flesh of walkers to blend in with them (a “hack” that’s well-established in the series, except the Whisperers do it to live). They’re also whisper-quiet, almost literally, communicating only in hushed volumes.
The Whisperers also mark their territory, and they kill anyone who crosses it. In the comics, Rick willingly trespasses to understand and test them. They’re led by two individuals: Alpha, a bald woman and mother to a character named Lydia, and Beta, an aggressive male.
Although it’s just a series of posts, their appearance suggests Whisper territory, a fact totally unbeknownst to the rest of the characters in The Walking Dead, even the Saviors. Still, no one crosses the posts, so who knows what would have happened if either Rick or Negan’s people crossed the territory in the middle of their firefight.
The Whisperers lasted a long time in the comics, appearing from issue #130 until #173, which contained “The Whisperer War” storyline. Given that Walking Dead just finished one war, that the Whisperers might be arriving means there is no time to rest when it’s the end of the world.
The Walking Dead will return later this year.