Spoiler alert for anyone not caught up with The Walking Dead TV show or comic book series.
Most people involved with high-profile TV dramas are trained not to get too crazy when it comes to press interviews, where any suspicious word or suggesting phrasing can be taken to extremes by fans. The Walking Dead is a prime example, as its cast and crew are very skittish and careful about how they answer questions between seasons. And so when interview-friendly Norman Reedus recently teased where the show is going for Season 7, it certainly seemed like he might have been cleverly hinting at the future arrival of another devious comic villain.
There's different worlds now. There's different characters. There's a change of power on the show. Negan coming in has flipped our whole script so to speak. We are no longer the Alpha right now. It's a new world. It's a new, dangerous world in a different way now.
No, we're not talking about Negan, since he's already been the talk of the town since Season 6 ended, and will be around for quite a long time yet. We're talking about Alpha, the leader of the mysterious and savage Whisperers, the batch of mostly silent antagonists that walk around wearing walker skin as both a disguise and a survival tactic. It's a pretty specific word to use there, and Reedus could have used lots of other ways to get that point across to ComicBook.com. So does it mean anything?
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely understand that introducing Alpha right now, in terms of the comic timeline, would be like Rick & Co. running into Negan after taking care of the Terminus group. She and The Whisperers don't show up for another 30 or so issues beyond the point at which the AMC series is currently set, so it would obviously take some major narrative shuffling to get that part of the story introduced already. (Not that this show has any problem flipping comic stories .)
But what if it doesn't have to be that complicated? There is a point in the comics when Alpha, unrecognizable without her mask on, infiltrates Rick's group to get information about them, and that's a situation that could easily be introduced in Season 7 regardless of it not fitting the timeline. To have a major villain introduced as a normal character long before an eventual surprise reveal would be a nice trick for the show to utilize, and it would mirror Negan's villainous presence being known for a while before he actually showed up.
We know Season 7 is making big changes, and that we will get to meet new characters from The Kingdom, The Hilltop Colony and possibly beyond. And we also know that Negan is a formidable enough adversary by his lonesome. But that doesn't automatically disqualify Alpha from being introduced in Season 7, which would be one of the more welcomed detours from the source material (to me, at least). Of course, it's also possible that Norman Reedus had just watched a documentary about the Greek alphabet, and that's why he had the word alpha on the brain. But that's just no fun at all.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC in October for Season 7.