9:15am PT by Josh Wigler
'The Walking Dead': 7 Burning Questions for the Rest of Season 9
Jesus (Tom Payne) is dead — and very soon, other Walking Dead heroes and villains will join him in the graveyard.
Following the shocking season nine midseason finale, The Walking Dead stands at the edge of one of its deadliest stories yet: the Whisperer War. In the comics from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, a new group of foes emerges in the form of the Whisperers, survivors who flourish in the apocalypse by wearing suits made from human flesh, allowing them to live among the dead. These terrifying men and women made their official debut in the latest episode, "Evolution," announcing themselves by killing Jesus — a huge change from the comic books, even as it pays homage to the original tale.
What's next now that the Whisperers are officially on the board? That's one of the many questions we're left asking in the wait between now and the rest of season nine, returning to AMC on Sunday, Feb. 10. Here's what else we're wondering during the current Walking Dead hiatus:
1. How Will the Group Survive?
Let's start there, since it's the most urgent question on the board. There's not going to be much time to mourn Jesus, at least not immediately, considering Michonne (Danai Gurira) and friends are currently surrounded by Whisperers. How will they survive the upcoming battle? Showrunner Angela Kang tells The Hollywood Reporter that we're next "going to see our people getting themselves out of peril, or trying to, and dealing with the aftermath of Jesus' death. There's also a startling discovery they make along the way. There's a lot of action and excitement coming up." Speaking of that tease…
2. What's the Startling Discovery?
Comic book readers can make an educated guess about the nature of the discovery: a person within the Whisperers' ranks. Specifically, Lydia, the young child who becomes a huge source of drama within the greater group. Cassady McClincy will play Lydia in the series, a character who is first introduced at the same rough point in time in the comics. Whether or not she's the immediate discovery, she's certainly going to pop up sooner rather than later.
3. What's Next for Negan?
The former ruler of the Saviors is seen stalking the Sanctuary in the trailer for season nine's remaining episodes, which already tells us something: The Walking Dead TV series and the Walking Dead comic books are parting ways once again, at least where Negan is concerned. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character has a lot of excitement to look forward to based on the comics' arc, and we have some theories on how exactly the divergences will play out in the live-action version of events.
4. Will We See Maggie?
Lauren Cohan's Maggie is still alive in the world of The Walking Dead, albeit very far away from all of the action at the moment. While the powers that be have said we won't see Maggie again this season, perhaps there will be other sightings of the character, whether in flashback form or via one of the letters she's been sending back to the Hilltop. Either way, we still need to find out exactly why she and Michonne have wound up in such opposition against each other.
5. What's With the Scars?
Speaking of Michonne, what's going on with the scar on her back? And what about Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), who has a matching 'X' of his own? We previously theorized about what it may mean in terms of a villainous backstory, though others have floated out less sinister possibilities. However they got those scars, expect an answer before season nine comes to an end.
6. Will Anyone (Besides Viewers) Learn About Rick?
Everyone involved insists Andrew Lincoln won't return to The Walking Dead as a series regular, and hey, perhaps that's true! Doesn't mean the characters in the universe won't find out Rick's somehow still alive. As the Walking Dead franchise expands with a series of Rick-centric television films, it's worth wondering if any other main players will depart Alexandria in search of the presumed dead leader — someone like, say, Michonne, as Danai Gurira eyes a new deal with the franchise.
7. Are You Ready for the Fair?
This last one gets into extreme comic book spoiler territory, so proceed with caution — but some very important main characters are likely going to die in very grisly fashion before the season ends, if the TV series follows the source material's lead. During the Alexandrian fair (currently hyped on the show as a joint venture between the Kingdom and the Hilltop), the Whisperers snatch up several members of the community, kill them and use their zombified heads to create a border marker. Among the deceased: Rosita (Christian Serratos) and Ezekiel (Khary Payton). Will they die on the show as in the comics, or will others find their heads on spikes by the end of the season? No matter the answer, there's very little doubt that the grisly scene from the comics will wind up on the show this season, as itis one of the most iconic death sequences in recent Walking Dead history. Steel yourselves accordingly.
Follow THR.com/WalkingDead for more coverage.