The Walking Dead survivors went through one of the biggest and most maddening tragedies of the post-apocalypse in Season 9's big fair episode, thanks to Samantha Morton's callous villain Alpha. Her mysterious (and super-deadly) group, the Whisperers, will be adding a new member to their sordid ranks when Season 10 hits, with Thora Birch joining the cast as "Gamma."
Check out the first look at her character unmasked in the shot below.
First thought: Gamma looks like she's about 12 years old, even though the actress is 37. There's something about that scraggly hair, the dirt-covered face and the super-light eyebrows that makes Thora Birch look barely older than her Ghost World days. Considering what we know about Season 10 giving the protagonists some Cold War-era paranoia over the communities getting breached anew by the monstrous Whisperers, Birch's youthful look could definitely come into play when she's around other characters.
Gamma won't be able to be quite as smooth and chameleonic as Alpha was when she entered into Hilltop, since Gamma still boasts a head full of reddish hair that might be hard to cover with a wig. But for all we know, she could end up shaving her head by the end of her first episode, if that's what Alpha would want.
It's hard to get a read on Gamma's eyes in that pic. On the one hand, she appears to be glum and possibly remorseful, or possibly so frightened by a certain concept that it saddens her.
On the other, she looks a half-second away from the corners of her mouth curling up as her eyes start twinkling. That said, the perceived happiness in that moment would likely also have a dark origin, such as watching one of the good guys getting their head lopped off with a scythe.
Below is another new still of Gamma that AMC has released, and eagle-eyed fans will probably recognize her Whisperers mask from the big Season 10 trailer that was released at San Diego-Comic Con.
Weirdly enough, Gamma still looks like a kid while wearing this mask...albeit one of the most frightening children ever. It's probably because those deceivingly innocent eyes are shining through the gross walker skin.
Details about Gamma's life and existence aren't very plentiful, but a few tidbits are known. For one, she's a sentry within the Whisperer group who is exceedingly protective of Alpha for one reason or another. Considering we already know Lydia as Alpha's daughter, it's presumed that The Walking Dead will find another connection to explain Gamma's devotion to the sadistic leader.
As already implied by the previous statement, Gamma will be a firm believer of Alpha's philosophy, and she is committed to the group's main way of life. I can't imagine being at a point in life where dressing in walker skin and embracing silence would ever look like a better existence than anything else.
In years past, The Walking Dead might have kept Thora Birch's new look completely hidden from fans until she showed up in an episode at some undisclosed point. Thankfully, though, the marketing team has gotten better about offering up way more teases and fun details ahead of episodes, so that viewers can have things to look forward to beyond just secrets.
Beyond Thora Birch, The Walking Dead has added to its ensemble cast elsewhere as well. Viewers will see Kevin Carroll showing up as Virgil, a survivor who is trying to seek out his family. And beyond whatever characters die surprisingly, fans also have to say farewell to longtime star Danai Gurira, whose Michonne likely won't be getting killed off.
Don't expect to see Rick Grimes around, either, since it was announced at SDCC that Andrew Lincoln's upcoming standalone movie is getting released into theaters instead of on linear TV or streaming.
When Season 10 of The Walking Dead gets here, expect to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan and Norman Reedus' Daryl working together, while possibly fighting about it, now that Negan is a free man. As well, fans can look forward to some weird strife coming up between Daryl and Carol, even if it doesn't last long. Hopefully Judith keeps that dog safe now, too. (And where's Maggie?)
Check out the full Season 10 trailer below.
The Walking Dead will enter the fall TV schedule when it returns to AMC for Season 10 on Sunday, October 6, at 9:00 p.m. ET.