rick the walking dead

The Walking Dead kicked off Season 9 with one of the more justifiable deaths from recent years, with Gregory no longer hanging around the communities. And it looks like showrunner Angela Kang is also bringing one of the comic series' most shocking scenes to live-action whenever the villainous group The Whisperers make their presence known. It involves a bunch of heads impaled on spikes, and it was almost spoiled in the new opening credits.

In one of the weirdest ways The Walking Dead has hinted at future reveals, some very interesting concept art from the opening credits has surfaced. In one frame that did not make it to the final cut, seven heads are stuck atop a group of tall spikes sticking out of the ground. The slightest bit of red blood can be seen on some of the necks, which would have been another subtle use of color in the titles.

Unless some bizarre changes are in store, this shot is almost definitely in reference to the shocking reveal made in The Walking Dead #144. Without getting into mega-spoilers, I'll just say that some major characters get killed off in one swoop. It's easily one of the biggest and most destructive blows that the protagonists faced in the source material, and I can't see it being any less stressful in live-action, either.

As seen on Art of the Title, the heads seen are already walker-fied, and are no longer very human. As such, they offer little room for speculation about which TV characters could get sacrificed to kick off the eventual Whisperer War. It's obviously possible the same characters could die in both the comics and the show, but I have to assume Angela Kang & Co. will be flipping the script there to keep fans on their toes.

Is it telling at all that Norman Reedus' credit is the one seen in the unused frame? Let's hope not. No one is going to get behind The Walking Dead killing off Rick and Daryl (and the long-living extra Bob Miller) in the same season.

Issue #144 is also when The Walking Dead introduced the Whisperers' leader Alpha, though it's hard to tell if the TV show will keep those two moments linked up. We pretty much know that Rick will be a goner when Samantha Morton's Alpha arrives, but will his head be one of the ones we see? And when is Ryan Hurst's Beta joining the fun?

The Walking Dead Season 9 airs Sunday nights on AMC at 9:00 p.m. ET, so keep your head screwed on tight while waiting for the next episode. Wrap that same head around our fall TV premiere schedule to see all the shows coming to primetime soon.

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