Skybound Entertainment has confirmed that actor Ryan Hurst (Sons of Anarchy) and actress Cassady McClincy (Castle Rock) have been cast in the upcoming ninth season of AMC’s hit live-action television adaptation of it’s zombie comic book series The Walking Dead. McClincy will play the character “Lydia”, while Hurst plays “Beta”:
The company also let it slip that the new season will begin what’s known as “The Whisperers” story arc from the comic and provided cheat sheets of McClincy & Hurst’s characters for fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead who don’t read the comic (warning, while the show doesn’t precisely follow the comic, spoilers may be ahead):
Lydia is the 16 year-old daughter of Alpha, the tough-as-nails leader of The Whisperers. We’re first introduced to Lydia in Issue 133 when she and her walker skin-wearing comrades lose a battle to Jesus and his soldiers. As the lone survivor, Lydia is taken back to Hilltop to get locked up and interrogated. It’s there she meets Carl, who’s sitting in the adjacent cell for nearly beating two teens to death for attacking Sophia (Yes, that Sophia).
Timid at first, Lydia eventually warms up to Carl and the two form a romantic bond (see the *ahem* intimate details below). She tells him her mother Alpha allowed and encouraged an abusive environment among The Whisperers and wouldn’t bat and eye at her own daughter getting raped. It’s this sort of toxic atmosphere that has understandably turned Lydia completely off from the Whisperer way of life.
Eventually, Alpha gets her daughter back from Hilltop and warns Rick not to cross into their territory again. Carl follows them anyway, Rick’s forced to retrieve Carl, and Alpha lets Rick and Carl leave with Lydia because she can no longer keep her daughter safe. Despite this deal, Alpha’s upset that they trespassed into her territory, so she retaliates by beheading a dozen of Rick’s people (including Rosita, Luke and Ezekiel). This Red Wedding-esque massacre eventually leads to a full-on war between Rick’s communities and The Whisperers.
Lydia is vital to Rick’s victory over The Whisperers during this war. 49 issues later Lydia is still alive in the comics and living at Hilltop. She remains close friends with Carl and is a valuable member of the community.
First introduced in The Walking Dead Issue 154, Beta is Whisperer leader Alpha’s second-in-command. Beta is a brute who is fiercely loyal to Alpha and will kill anyone who threatens her or their way of life. Negan is the first character to meet him and nicknames him “Frowny Mctwoknives,” “Beta Mctwoknives,” and Jolly Green Giant for his enormous height and two knives. In fact, Negan has a lot of fun on his behalf despite Beta’s cold demeanor.
In the comics Negan eventually beheads Alpha, forcing Beta to take over ignite a massive Whisperer War against Rick and Maggie’s groups in retaliation. Before the outbreak, Beta was a famous NBA player-turned actor who appeared in movies and car commercials.