[Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead comic.]

The Walking Dead has had a relatively divisive seventh season so far, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of comic fan favorite Negan drawing just as much praise as derision. Still, showrunner Scott Gimple has doubled down on his commitment to the show, even teasing an eventual film adaptation someday. With that in mind, it’s reasonable to assume that fans will continue to see stories from the beloved comic brought to the screen (admittedly with a vast amount of changes involved). If that is the case, then Negan should be around for the long haul, in spite of the lukewarm response to him so far.

As much as The Walking Dead has followed the comic lately, however, the show’s history reveals that it’s not afraid to make large changes on occasion – like killing Andrea way back in season 3, despite her still being alive in the comic – when the story calls for it. Now, fans may have a little more insight into the next change that Gimple has planned for the ratings goliath.

According to a recent interview with Comic Book, Gimple has revealed that villains the Whisperers may make an appearance in the show a little earlier than they did in the comic. Gimple was asked if the mysterious brand new society being introduced in episode six, “Swear,” was, in fact, the Whisperers and though he denied that was the case, he didn’t rule out the possibility of them showing up relatively soon. Gimple’s entire answer on the subject is available below:

If we’ve gotten this far without saying anything about them, I’d like the audience to discover this group when it’s on screen. I will say … I mean, it’s not the Whisperers. I will also say, though, that it’s not impossible that the Whisperers could come along or aspects of them could come along earlier than the timeline of the book, but certainly not this early.

the walking dead the whisperers Walking Dead Showrunner: The Whisperers May Arrive Early


Though this is certainly only a rumor at this point and there’s no real evidence to suggest when exactly they’ll show up, the possibility of the Whisperers showing up even remotely early is an interesting prospect. Maybe Gimple and his team of writers believe bringing in Alpha and her crew of zombie skin-wearing survivors earlier will help shift the focus away from Morgan’s contentious Negan. Or maybe they’ll simply appear in a small cameo only to return after Rick and Negan’s eventual all-out war.

Some fans may be a little disappointed by this development, as there’s a rather important comic story arc between Negan and Rick’s war and the Whisperers that involves a time jump and the successful implementation of a trade system between communities. Still, there’s no reason to assume The Walking Dead won’t eventually weave that in, as it has most of the other comic stories at this point. There may be differences, but the story beats will hopefully remain close to the same.

The Walking Dead continues with ‘Go Getters’ this Sunday at 9pm on AMC.

Source: Comic Book