While the cast and crew of AMC's The Walking Dead roll along with their deep-dive production-wise on the tenth season, life in the franchise's universe has become a lot like the NFL: neither have off-seasons anymore. With a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha) and richly layered writing, showrunner/executive producer Angela Kang did the near-impossible: made the show feel fresh and dangerous again.
With all of the teasers, promos, promises, and dire warnings issued about the upcoming season, we'd be remiss if we didn't throw some love in the direction of seven The Walking Dead cast members who have been promoted to series regulars: Cailey Fleming (Judith), Cassady McClincy (Lydia), Cooper Andrews (Jerry), Nadia Hilker (Magna), Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko), Lauren Ridloff (Connie), and Ryan Hurst (Beta).
Here's a look at how The Walking Dead sees their characters heading into season 10:
Judith: A kid warrior beyond her years, Judith is every bit Michonne's daughter from the way she handles her sword to the way she handles people. She is also her brothers' keeper, approaching the future with Carl's wisdom and RJ by her side. Rick, too, is a part of her daily life as she shares her version of stories she's heard to keep his memory alive. Her history is never forgotten. She embodies the past, present, and future. Will she have to grow up too soon or will she be able to remain a kid for a little while longer?
Lydia: Not her mother's daughter, Lydia tries hard to assimilate into her newfound community. Like Negan, she feels she will never be accepted without questioning eyes upon her. Like Daryl, she is trying to unlearn her neglected animalistic upbringing. Will she find her voice as she traverses life between these two ways of survival?
Jerry: Ezekiel wasn't the only one who lost the Kingdom, Jerry lost it too. Now Jerry is trying to hold on to Ezekiel, who is disappearing within himself. Without the King, Jerry tries to remain positive, hoping to create a new home at Hilltop for his family and the others displaced from the Kingdom. There is no doubt, Jerry wants his leader to return.
Magna: Magna does not like what she is seeing and she certainly does not like the Whisperers imposed rules. Her gut instinct is to take care of herself and her immediate loved ones first and foremost, even at the expense of others within the communities.
Yumiko: Yumiko respects and upholds the wartime rules the communities have in place to protect themselves from the Whisperers. As tensions rise, Yumiko's inner circle expands as she aims to protect the communities. She finally has a home and will fight to protect it and everyone in it, but her approach proves to be more complicated than she images.
Connie: Connie is a stealth fighter and remains ever dedicated to protecting her sister. She is open to accepting a new way of life and building friendships within the communities, but her focus on the Whisperers does not leave room for much else. Does she have tunnel vision in her mission or is it an excuse for her to distance herself from an expanded life.
Beta: Beta is a Whisperer to his core, perhaps even more so than Alpha. Meeting Alpha in the post-apocalyptic world gave Beta an identity and a way to survive he never could have imagined without her. As Alpha's unwavering right hand man, all he does is in her name.
Leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) in July, – we learned: comic book character Dante (played by Snowfall star Juan Javier Cardenas) will transition to the small screen; efforts are underway to bring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) back; big themes for this season will be propaganda, paranoia, and PTSD; Michonne's (Danai Gurira) in a "hot" situation in the season's first official image; Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) possible future; Eugene's (McDermitt) connection to that mysterious voice on the radio at the end of last season; and that Lincoln will not direct an episode this season.
Post-SDCC, there were a ton of teases and news (and a sad announcement, which you can check out here) – including the start of a series of weekly reveals that began with a first look at American Beauty star Thora Birch in the role of Gamma, a Whisperer who is fiercely protective of Alpha. Then, AMC and Skybound offered a look at the second addition to the cast: Kevin Carroll's Virgil – highly intelligent, resourceful, and desperately trying to get home to his family. This season will also see Sydney Park return as Oceanside's Cyndie, and new cast member Alex Sgambati's Jules (possibly) a part of her community.
Here's our first official trailer for the upcoming tenth season as well as an overview of what we can expect when the series returns. As the war between our heroes and The Whisperers escalates, both sides must deal with issues of trust and fear from within…
The Walking Dead is a story that started 10 years ago with one man trying to find his family. That family grew and gradually communities took shape. They fought and survived, thrived and gave birth to a new generation. It is a tale of humankind and there are more stories to tell.
It is now Spring, a few months after the end of Season 9, when our group of survivors dared to cross into Whisperer territory during the harsh winter. The collected communities are still dealing with the after effects of Alpha's horrific display of power, reluctantly respecting the new borderlines being imposed on them, all while organizing themselves into a militia-style fighting force, preparing for a battle that may be unavoidable.
But the Whisperers are a threat unlike any they have ever faced. Backed by a massive horde of the dead it is seemingly a fight they cannot win. The question of what to do and the fear it breeds will infect the communities and give rise to paranoia, propaganda, secret agendas, and infighting that will test them as individuals and as a society. The very idea of whether civilization can survive in a world filled with the dead hangs in the balance.