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The Walking Dead is going to break new ground in Season 9 by jumping (disembodied) head first into the comic book's post-War time jump. With that shift forward comes quite a few new characters, including the newest and most gruesome villainous group, The Whisperers. We already know who's playing the emotion-lite leader Alpha, and it's now been revealed Sons of Anarchy and Bates Motel vet Ryan Hurst has been cast to portray the Whisperers' hulking second banana Beta. I couldn't be more behind this decision.
When he enters the Walking Dead universe, Ryan Hurst will only be seen in a recurring guest star capacity, which could mean several things. For one, if he's really just being cast this deep into production, then it's possible he won't even appear until the second half of Season 9. Which would also probably mean he would get to come back for Season 10, if the TV show doesn't speed through this part of the source material. And one might assume it wouldn't, since the All Out War took up an entire season.
No exact details were given about the Beta role, as reported by The Wrap, so it's not quite clear if The Walking Dead's live-action iteration will stay true to the events that went down in Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comics. It's clear that Ryan Hurst will still be the intimidating enforcer for the leader Alpha, to be portrayed by Fantastic Beasts' Samantha Morton. And I can't imagine they'll make any gigantic leaps with Beta's personality, although he could technically do with a more broadened backstory. Beta is more of a brute force than a well-rounded character, so giving Hurst more to play with can only be a good thing, no matter what Beta approves of.
For Sons of Anarchy fans, Ryan Hurst's Opie Winston will forever be one of TV"s most tragic characters, and those were truly hard times when he wasn't around the show anymore. The actor then went on to star in the TNT drama King & Maxwell before portraying a pair of interesting and uniquely backwoods characters for the Psycho prequel Bates Motel and the WGN America drama Outsiders. Most recently, he was confirmed to appear in Season 5 of Amazon's crime drama Bosch.
Ryan Hurst's Beta will be entering the show just as some major characters will be exiting, such as Lauren Cohan's Maggie and Andrew Lincoln's Rick. And as far as new faces go, Hurst will be joined by Cassady McClincy as Alpha's daughter Lydia, Lauren Ridloff's Connie, Eleanor Matsuura's Yumiko, Nadia Hilker's Magna, Angel Theory's Kelly, and Dan Fogler's Luke. Lots of new faces to get used to for Season 9, although they might not all be around by the time the finale arrives.
Find out how it'll all go down when The Walking Dead Season 9 kicks off on AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other new shows are coming in the near future, head to our fall premiere schedule.