Spoiler warning for anyone who hasn't yet watched The Walking Dead's Season 8 premiere.
The Walking Dead finally returned to AMC with its Season 8 premiere, which introduced viewers to a brand new character who was actually responsible for uttering the episode's title, "Mercy." The character, played by actor Avi Nash, was heard more than he was seen, and did not get name-checked during his time onscreen. But we're pretty sure the character is meant to represent the comic book (and video game) character Siddiq.
Technically first announced through a casting call where the character's name was "Abbud," The Walking Dead's newest survivor showed up in both the big Comic-Con trailer over the summer, as well as the sneak preview clip centered on that early scene where he first spoke to Carl, so we kind of knew what to expect from that first appearance. As Carl was out on a supply run, he was called upon by Avi Nash's character, who presented himself as a helpless and hungry man seeking help. And it was quite an opening spiel for someone we hadn't met yet. You can check it out below.
Hey. I'm okay. I mean, I'm not, but...I've been shot at. Someone threw a microwave at me. So I'm just gonna say something my mom used to say and hope for the best here. Whatever you have of good, spend on the traveler. My mom said that helping the traveler, the person without a home, that's everything. I'm sure you've seen things, been through things, that you don't trust people. I get it. I get it. I don't either. I've been through things too. My mom, she also said that may my mercy prevail over my wrath. It's not all my mom. That one, that's from the Quran. I shouldn't have said that. I don't even know you, but I haven't eaten in a few days, and you might not even be real. . . . Listen, I'm gone. It's cool. I just wanted some, even just some food.
It was pretty weird how he just rattled all this stuff off to the approaching Carl, although he apparently thought he could have been hallucinating. (That's the kind of stuff that happens after someone throws a microwave at you, I guess.) And we didn't even get to hear anything more, as Rick scared him off by running up and popping off a couple of warning shots -- those shots were totally above his head, but Carl was still pretty disgusted with Rick for doing it.
In any case, the hungry survivor quotes an Islamic religious text, which is definitely significant, as the comic protagonist Siddiq was an Arab-American who was also notably Muslim. That's not a coincidence. Plus, Siddiq was known for being a character whose post-apocalyptic travels were done mostly alone, which appears to be the case with this new character as well, even though there's always a chance that he could be "with them." (Them being the Saviors or some other villain-filled group.) So even though we might not get to learn his actual name in the near future, we're pretty sure that it'll end up being Siddiq. Or at the very least that he'll be the live-action stand-in for Siddiq even if the name does get changed in the adaptation.
A solid dude on most fronts, Siddiq was first introduced to Walking Dead readers at a point in the story that's a bit later than where the show is now, comparatively, as it happens after the post-All Out War time jump. But even though the details behind the situations would be completely different, there isn't anything too important tied to the timing of his arrival, so it could easily happen a little earlier for TV without any big narrative problems arising. As the comic story goes, Siddiq came from Miami, where he was living when the walker outbreak first happened, and he traveled up the coast until he reached the Oceanside fishing community, where he stayed for a while before later making his way to Alexandria. And he plays an interesting role involving two other characters' romance, but that's not worth getting into right now.
By the end of the episode, Carl is seen leaving some cans of food behind, along with a note that said, "Sorry," and it was all seen by the new character. As such, we're definitely going to meet up with him again as the All Out War rages on between Team Family and Team Negan. Here's hoping he ends up being a comrade instead of an enemy, even if he's too hungry to fight right away. He likely won't have anything to do with the live-action version of Oceanside, but maybe he'll join that crew in the future.