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News that Andrew Lincoln is leaving The Walking Dead even had some of the cast convinced the series was headed to an end. But recent news on Season 9 has slowly but surely convinced fans there will be reason to tune into the program after Rick Grimes' departure. The latest report on that front is that a new comic character will be featured in the upcoming season, as Cassady McClincy will step onto the scene in a recurring role. McClincy will be playing Lydia, the daughter of The Whisperer's leader Alpha.
The news of Cassady McClincy's casting comes just a month after the announcement of Samantha Morton's casting in The Walking Dead as Alpha. McClincy won't be a series regular like Morton, although her arc in the comics would indicate she may play a bigger role in the show down the stretch. That said, it's hard to say how much of McClincy's Lydia will coincide with the comics, as the story of the Whisperer leader's daughter will need to be tweaked quite a bit to account for show's most recent events.
Lydia plays a few roles in the Whisperer's arc in The Walking Dead comics, although as THR pointed out a lot of it is intertwined in a romantic relationship with Carl Grimes. Obviously, that relationship won't be shown in Season 9 of The Walking Dead, and with the news already out there that Rick will not clash with Alpha, Lydia's story could look a lot different when viewers see her in The Walking Dead. That said, it's not completely out of the question that the show doesn't play out at least one spoiler-ish part of Lydia's character arc, which would mean her character could mean a lot more to the series in future seasons.
Spoiler alert for those who don't read the comics, but we're referring to the fact that Lydia eventually turns on her mother and joins up with Rick and the gang. Without Carl to help sway her away from the Whisperers, The Walking Dead will have to come up with another way to turn her away from the group. That shouldn't be too much trouble, as one would think it won't take much effort to talk someone into a post-apocalyptic life that doesn't involve wearing suits constructed out of the skin of other humans.