Over the course of Season 8, The Walking Dead seemingly killed off hundreds of Saviors, along with plenty of residents within Alexandria, the Hilltop and the Kingdom. (Including perhaps the biggest death in the show's history so far.) As such, the zombie drama is filling up some of that empty space by promoting two characters first introduced last season. Fans can expect to see a lot more of Avi Nash's empathetic physician Siddiq and Callan McAuliffe's not-so-evil former Savior Alden in Season 9.
Both Avi Nash and Callan McAuliffe were promoted to full-time series regulars for Season 9, according to THR, which is quite interesting, considering fans are going to see a noteworthy time jump soon after the season starts. If anyone out there had any worries about Hot Savior Boi meeting his maker after walking the path to redemption, all is well. Now let's take a closer look at these two characters' importance within this universe.
Siddiq's introduction was juxtaposed with Carl's quest for merciful peace, with the latter bitten by a walker on his "rescue mission." So understandably, Siddiq wasn't the most warmly welcomed new addition to Rick's group, least of all by Rick himself. But because he's now the communities' main source of healthcare, he's a necessity like no other, and Siddiq was also the one immediately tasked with saving Negan's life after Rick slashed the villain's throat. Hopefully by the time Season 9's main narrative gets underway, enough time will have passed that Siddiq will be a comfortably functioning resident whose awkward first days are well behind him.
Interestingly, The Walking Dead's live-action Siddiq doesn't seem to share much in common with his comic counterpart, beyond being an Arab-American. At least, that's how it currently looks. Season 9 could very well reveal that the two versions of the character share a backstory. On the page, Siddiq was a Floridian who traveled north, hooked up with the Comic's Oceanside community as a fisherman, and was already a member of Rick's group when the time-jump kicked off. We can't expect for a new Oceanside to come up, but however it's all explained, we're hoping Avi Nash makes a grand impact on the new season.
And then we have Alden, the soft-spoken and logically minded former Savior that managed to make the big switch from bad guys to good guys without facing any of the consequences that Dwight and Simon faced for their malfeasance. By appealing to Maggie in meaningful ways, he saved himself from extermination during the All Out War, and I'm curious to see how the character will get developed in Season 9.
Alden doesn't have a direct comic book iteration, so there aren't any straightforward ways to guess what will happen. However, he and Maggie look like they may share a special connection that goes beyond the leader/prisoner dynamic they had before. And since we know Lauren Cohan is confirmed to return after those testy contract negotiations, it's possible that Alden is meant to represent the comic's Dante, who becomes a loose post-Glenn love interest for Maggie. Granted, Dante goes heavy on the sarcasm and has a lotharious vibe going for him that Alden couldn't really put forth in Season 8, but maybe spending a while as an official Hilltop citizen will make him more light-hearted.