When The Walking Dead returns this Sunday for its seventh season, Rick and the survivors are going to have their hands full. They’re going to be reeling from the loss of whoever Negan killed. Plus, Morgan and Carol are just now getting introduced to the Kingdom. But could producers be introducing another plot element already?
On Saturday, AMC’s official Walking Dead Instagram account posted this teaser image for the new season:
As you can see, that’s a head on a spike. No, The Walking Dead isn’t taking inspiration from Game of Thrones, either. The image is actually very reminiscent of a scene taken directly from The Walking Dead comic book. There’s just one problem: that scene shouldn’t be taking place for years.
Enter the Whisperers
The image could mean that the Whisperers are coming to The Walking Dead. In the comic book, the Whisperers are a cult group who disguise themselves as walkers. Instead of killing the undead, they skin them and use their tanned skins to walk among them. They speak only in whispers, hence the name.
The timing is all off, though. In the comic book, Negan and the Saviors are more than enough problem for Alexandria. In fact, the battle against Negan takes the entire focus for many issues. It’s not until Negan is defeated and the comic skips ahead two full years that we meet the Whisperers.
Another Negan-sized Event
The moment teased by the Instagram photo is a pivotal one for Rick and the Alexandrians. When the Whisperers decide the townspeople are getting too close to their territory, they kidnap several of them. Then they murder them and put their heads on spikes to serve as a de facto border. Several popular characters are killed in this incident, including characters that are on the TV show, as well.
The Whisperers have been the primary antagonists in the comic book ever since. Even to this day, Rick and the group are fighting against them. The comic book’s current story arc is even called “The Whisperer War.”
Fear the Whisperers
Interestingly enough, many have theorized that The Walking Dead spin-off show, Fear the Walking Dead, may be providing an origin for the Whisperers. Recently, Nick became part of a cult that believes the undead provide the gift of eternal life. Some fans think that Nick’s mother, Madison, could eventually become Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers on The Walking Dead.
Not Their First Rodeo
Even if this image does indicate the Whisperers will be making an appearance on The Walking Dead, it won’t actually be their first mention. All the way back in the Season 3 episode, ‘Clear,’ when Morgan was ranting and raving, he said something interesting. He mentioned “people wearing dead people’s faces.” Now, that could just be some lunatic ramblings, or it could be a clever Easter egg from the producers. But many have interpreted it to be a reference to the Whisperers.
It could be that the show is planning to slowly introduce the Whisperers alongside Negan and the Saviors before bringing them to the foreground once the Negan storyline is finished.
We’ll find out on Sunday when The Walking Dead returns at 9/8c on AMC.