If you're a fan of Beta from The Walking Dead comics, you'll be pleased to know that his TV counterpart's costume is chock full of Easter eggs. Actor Ryan Hurst revealed that elements of his wardrobe were inspired by other prominent characters from the show's rich history.
Beta serves as right hand to Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) and if this week's introduction in "Guardians" was any indication, his devotion to her promises to manifest in the same brand of ruthless brutality we see in the comics. When a dissatisfied Whisperer couple challenge Alpha's leadership, Beta holds the offending man back as Alpha decapitates his girlfriend with razor wire and then proceeds to gut him with a hunting knife moments later. In the books, he's just as stalwart, even going so far as to unleash a massive herd of walkers on Alexandria after learning of Alpha's death at the hands of Aaron and Jesus. The character's fanaticism, combined with his enigmatic unwillingness to remove his mask even among friends, has already translated to the small screen. But according to Hurst, there might be more to Beta's appearance than just a rote copy of his comic attire.
While Hurst is sporting a similar mask, beard and leather duster to what we've seen in the books, the actor revealed that he'd also inserted some Easter eggs as a tribute to some of the "best people" on the show. He refused to get into specifics, but he did explain to EW how and why he got to have some input on his wardrobe:
Yeah, I’m a little bit of a self-diagnosed polymath. I do a little bit of everything. When I was on that show, The Outsiders, I designed all of the tattoos. I just kind of stick my thumb in everybody’s pie, but Elaine’s the costume designer. I’m a bit of a clothing designer, as well, and I told her that, and she was just like, “Well, fantastic. Let’s get together.” And I was actually there shooting a different project in Georgia at the time, so I had about three weeks prior to filming where we all kinda got together and went over some looks together to really meticulously put this guy together...
I wanted to just steal a bit from all the best people on the show. There are little tiny Easter eggs if you look really closely at Beta’s costume. There are some little Easter eggs in there of little pieces that may resemble other characters on the show, and that was sort of done consciously. I’m not gonna really reveal much more than that.
At first glance, Beta's red scarf feels like it could be a shout out to Negan and Hurst's good friend Jeffrey Dean Morgan. His leather duster, mask and beard all represent the way the character was dressed in the comics, but the striped shirt sleeves poking out from under his coat sleeve and the yellow graphic tee that can just barely be seen below his neck might have a deeper meaning.
The only specific (if one can call it that) that Hurst gave was that he took pieces from VIP characters. That could mean we'll see nods to anyone from Herschel to the Governor or even Rick, though that might feel sacrilegious. Eagle-eyed fans will no doubt have fun scouring every inch of Hurst's ensemble for clues about just what he added - if they aren't too distracted by his depravity. While the show won't follow the comics Whisperer storyline to the letter (not only has The Walking Dead made a point to avoid too many direct adaptations of the comics, with Rick and Carl gone, everything will be a little bit different from here on out), Beta's character clearly remains close to the character that unleashes a herd of walkers on Alexandria in the comics in retaliation for Alpha's murder. While his fearless leader has arguably cornered the market on perverse immorality, Beta's not far behind, and we can certainly expect shocking things from him very soon.