The Walking Dead have reportedly cast a significant character from the comic series, with Eleanor Matsuura set to portray Yumiko. In the comics, Yumiko arrives at Alexandria as a member of Magna's group and despite showing initial distrust towards Rick and the gang, she eventually becomes a core member of the protagonist bunch. As well as being a more-than-capable fighter, Yumiko takes part in the war against the Whisperers, is one of the first to meet with The Commonwealth and is romantically involved with her former travel companion, Magna, although she is regularly frustrated by her partner's reluctance to be open about their relationship.
With production underway on season nine of The Walking Dead, new cast members are beginning to arrive thick and fast. Jon Bernthal is confirmed to be returning as Shane (although this is likely to be part of a dream sequence or flashback), Lauren Ridloff has been cast as Connie - another member of Magna's group - and Dan Fogler has been cast in a mystery role. It is likely only a matter of time until the actress playing Magna herself is revealed.
According to ComicBook, who cite "multiple independent sources," Eleanor Matsuura has been cast as Yumiko ahead of season nine after the casting process began a few months ago. Matsuura will be familiar to fans of both TV and cinema for roles in Wonder Woman, Into The Badlands and Spooks: The Greater Good (also known as MI-5). The actress has enjoyed smaller parts in a variety of well-known series such as Doctor Who, Sherlock and Utopia and her voice may be familiar to gamers, with Matsuura having lent her vocal talents to the likes of Star Wars: Battlefront II, Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood and Ghost Recon: Wildlands. While the actress herself has yet to confirm the casting officially, Matsuura did reveal on her Instagram page that she recently made the move to Atlanta - nearby to where The Walking Dead is filmed.
It certainly seems as if the time jump in The Walking Dead season nine will facilitate the arrival of a variety of new characters and Magna's group will undoubtedly form a sizeable chunk of those. Interestingly, given how wildly season eight strayed from its comic source material, The Walking Dead does appear to be introducing the group at the same narrative point on TV as they arrived in print. Yumiko's casting also strengthens the claim that season nine of The Walking Dead will put additional emphasis on the stories of its female characters, with the likes of Michonne, Magna, Yumiko and (if she sticks around) Maggie likely to enjoy increased screen-time if the heavily rumored exit of Andrew Lincoln comes to pass.
As for the actress chosen to take on the role of Yumiko, The Walking Dead has done well to cast someone with plenty of experience in a wide array of genres and fans may soon get the chance to see Matsuura in action, as a trailer for season nine is expected to be shown at SDCC tomorrow. With many viewers questioning whether The Walking Dead can continue without the father and son duo of Rick and Carl Grimes, adding talented figures such as Eleanor Matsuura is a smart move in uncertain times.
The Walking Dead season 9 is expected to premiere later this year on AMC.