Warning: Possible SPOILERS ahead for The Walking Dead season 9.
The Walking Dead season 9 is going to feature Walking Dead comics' community fair; here are the implications this could have for both the show and its characters. So far in season 9, The Walking Dead has certainly been an eventful ride, and a number of landmark, franchise-altering events have taken place.
The most significant of these was, of course, the departure of Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, with The Walking Dead's leading man being whisked away in a helicopter, soon to appear in a trilogy of feature-length Walking Dead movies. Either side of Rick's exit, there were also two hefty time jumps that propelled the series roughly six years into the future, allowing an older Judith Grimes to replace Carl as The Walking Dead's resident hat-wearing junior.
The Walking Dead season 9's midseason finale kept up the intensity by revealing the long-awaited new villains, the Whisperers, a group of survivors who live a primitive lifestyle and camouflage themselves in the skins of the undead. Now that the Alexandrians and the Whisperers have begun stepping on each other's toes, conflict has erupted, resulting in the shocking death of Tom Payne's Jesus. With The Walking Dead showrunner confirming that season 9 will soon move into the community fair stage of the Whisperer arc, here are some of the events, TV alterations, and character deaths that viewers may see when The Walking Dead season 9 returns.
- This Page: What Is Walking Dead's Fair & How The TV Version Is Already Different
- Next Page: Walking Dead Characters Likely To Die & When The Fair Will Happen
What Is The Walking Dead's Fair In The Comics?
In comic form, The Walking Dead's fair takes place near the start of the Whisperer story arc, shortly after the time jump that occurs upon the conclusion of All Out War and Negan's incarceration. During the intervening period, Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom have all flourished, coming on leaps and bounds in terms of development and production. Because of this, an inter-community fair is organized, partly as a way of boosting morale and giving people something to work towards, but also to prove to everyone how far Rick's vision of a peaceful network of communities has come since the end of the war against the Saviors. Taking place in Alexandria, the fair offers all manner of stalls and attractions to visitors from all three communities, but, with so many unfamiliar faces around town, it's also the perfect place for an intruder to hide in plain sight, and that's exactly what the Whisperers leader Alpha decides to do.
Alpha wanders the settlement, talking with locals and finding out more about both Rick and his community. Rick, meanwhile, is a captive of the Whisperers after his son Carl attempted to infiltrate the group and rescue Alpha's daughter, Lydia, a girl who is being routinely abused by her mother's followers. When Alpha returns to her camp, she eventually lets Rick and Carl go, but the boys can't help but feel concerned by Alpha's blood-drenched machete and vague promise that she had created some kind of border to mark the Whisperers' territory. Indeed, that trepidation was not misplaced, as Rick soon discovers that Alpha has created this border using sticks with the decapitated heads of various members of the allied communities skewered on them. Thus, the war against the Whisperers truly begins.
How The Walking Dead's Fair Is Already Different On TV
Any translation of material from The Walking Dead's comic output to the AMC adaptation comes with some degree of alteration, and the community fair storyline is unlikely to be any different in that regard. Clearly, the biggest difference on this occasion will be the absence of both Rick and Carl Grimes, whose presence at the Whisperer camp during the fair is vital in advancing the plot and setting up the dramatic reveal of Alpha's victims. The exchanges between Rick and Alpha also help readers understand the Whisperers' motivations as well as the threat they carry, all while ensuring that Rick has detailed knowledge of the enemy he will soon declare war upon.
These factors can't simply be glossed over and - to an extent, at least - other characters will be required to fill the Rick and Carl roles here. In the first half of The Walking Dead season 9, it very much seemed like young Henry of the Kingdom was being positioned as a Carl replacement. Henry's desire to find a love interest, no-nonsense attitude to zombies, and determination to always do the right thing make him the ideal candidate to try and save Lydia from the Whisperers in future episodes. Assuming it is Henry who gallantly takes off to rescue the young girl, however, who would take on the Rick role and chase after him? As Henry's adoptive mother, Carol might be the most obvious choice, but Daryl has also struck up a rapport with Henry in season 9 and possesses the ace tracking skills needed to find the youngster.
The other major difference with the TV version of The Walking Dead's fair will be the dynamic between the three participating communities. In the comics, Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom are the best of friends, but on-screen, an as-yet-unseen incident has caused all three to drift apart, with noticeably frosty relations between Alexandria and Hilltop (which is augmented by Lauren Cohan's exit as Maggie). As things stand, only Hilltop and the Kingdom actually seem to be bothering with the fair and are doing so with some reluctance. It seems likely that the threat of the Whisperers will force all three settlements to begrudgingly take part in the fair to strengthen relations in the face of a new potential enemy, but it's equally probable that the event won't be anywhere near as celebratory or good-natured as the fair seen in The Walking Dead's comics.