The Walking Dead season 9 midseason finale, "Evolution," contained a number of comic changes and differences that kept viewers - both comic book readers and general audiences - at the edge of their seats. After spending the last few years focused on Negan and the Saviors, The Walking Dead season 9 introduced the Whisperers as the franchise's new villains, one that's a significant departure from what the people at Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom had ever faced before.
After spending most of the first few episodes of season 9 dedicated to writing out Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes as well as Lauren Cohan's Maggie Rhee (though it's always possible that Cohan could return in The Walking Dead season 10), The Walking Dead writers and producers then spent the last three episodes of the first half of season 9 laying the groundwork for the Whisperers to enter the TV show, not to mention briefly teasing something bad that happened in The Walking Dead's time jump.
The Walking Dead season 9 aired its midseason finale, "Evolution," this past Sunday, and while the episode was quite slow compared to some other midseason finales, it contained a number of major reveals that will be further explored when The Walking Dead season 9 returns in 2019. Interestingly, while the episode essentially followed the same path as The Walking Dead comics did, there were still quite a few notable changes. Note that these are only the major comic changes and differences rather than an exhaustive list of all the insignificant changes the TV show made.
- This Page: The Whisperers, Negan, & The Barn
- Next Page: Jesus' Death & Carl's Comic Story Arc
Rosita Doesn't Tell Michonne & Siddiq About the Whisperers
In The Walking Dead comics, readers are introduced to the Whisperers in multiple ways, the most important of which is when Marco tells Maggie, Rick, and Doc Carson that the walkers were whispering to each other in The Walking Dead #130 and #131. Of course, everyone thought Marco was crazy, but he was adamant about what he heard and that they needed to find Ken, who he left behind in order to seek help. Something similar played out on The Walking Dead TV show, though Eugene and Rosita replaced Ken and Marco, respectively.
However, instead of revealing, right then and there, that the walkers in The Walking Dead can talk (even though they weren't actually zombies), The Walking Dead instead has Rosita tell Michonne and Siddiq that they just don't understand what's happening. It was, of course, simply a measure to drum up anticipation for what was going to happen in the cemetery at the end of the midseason finale. It's unknown what happened in between when Rosita wakes up and when Michonne shows up at the cemetery that night, but Rosita must have presumably revealed what she and Eugene heard while trying to escape the walker herd a few episodes before.
Gabriel is Speaking to Negan Instead of Carl & Rick
Negan's story arc, both in The Walking Dead TV show and comics, has been tied to the Grimes family, especially to Carl and Rick. But now that both Chandler Riggs' Carl and Andrew Lincoln's Rick are both gone from The Walking Dead TV show, Negan's story is now being propelled forward by a handful of other characters. Judith is essentially taking Carl's place in speaking to Negan about her homework, though she's refrained from talking to him about her daily life. Meanwhile, Gabriel has apparently been counseling Negan on a weekly basis for quite some time.
Even though it may not be working as well as he'd hoped, Gabriel is still keen on redeeming Negan's soul, hoping that one day he may have proven himself worthy to be released from his prison and join the group. This is a continuation of the heartfelt one-on-one session they had during The Walking Dead season 8 episode 2, "The Damned," when they were both stuck inside a trailer after the Sanctuary had been swarmed by walkers. Sure, Rick didn't always make time to see Negan in the comics, but Gabriel even speaking to Negan on a somewhat regular basis is evidence that he's taking over Rick's duties from the comics' "A New Beginning" story arc.
The Walking Dead's Barn Scene is Different
Ever since The Walking Dead's six-year time jump occurred, a major plot point has been centered on setting up season 9's new villains, the Whisperers - and that meant sending out a group of people to search for Eugene, who Rosita had stashed in a barn - in episode 7, "Stradivarius" - until she could send for help. In The Walking Dead TV show, Aaron, Daryl, and Jesus find Eugene in the barn and once again encounter the herd of walkers that had been following them throughout the entire episode. It plays out mostly the same in the comics; however, there are some key differences that eventually lead to a shocking turn of events at the end of The Walking Dead midseason finale.
In The Walking Dead comics, Dante (a character who hasn't appeared in the TV show yet) and a few others rescue Ken (whose story is being taken by Eugene) from the barn and are forced to fight a herd of walkers/roamers. However, this fight doesn't happen in the TV show; instead, Aaron, Daryl, Eugene, and Jesus run from the barn without encountering the walkers. It seems the reason for this was to set up Jesus' death at the end of The Walking Dead midseason finale and introduce the Whisperers at the same time. After all, in The Walking Dead comics, it's Dante that is first officially introduced to the Whisperers. Plus, Daryl takes Dante's arc by uncovering the truth behind who the talking zombies really are by removing one of the Whisperers' walker masks.