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- "I've seen how you live. I've walked your streets. It's a joke. Your communities are a shrine to a long-dead world. My people, the Whisperers. We live as nature intended. [..] They follow me 'cause I am the Alpha. And if the Alpha doesn't assert herself, then there's chaos. So that is what I've done."
- —Alpha threatening and mocking Daryl.[src]
The Whisperers are a mysterious group of hostile survivors who disguise themselves with the skin of the undead in order to blend in with them and not get noticed. They are first introduced in the episode "Who Are You Now?" of AMC's The Walking Dead. They serve as the secondary antagonistic group for the first half of Season 9 and the primary antagonistic group for the second half of Season 9 and the first half of Season 10.
The Whisperers are a group of unknown size who have adopted the ideology that humanity is to return to its most animalistic roots, living in the wild and following a societal hierarchy similar to that of wolves, with an "Alpha" as their one true pack leader. As such, The Whisperers are also fiercely territorial and will kill anyone who treads into any land they see as their own. Through a process of skinning killed walkers and possibly other dead bodies and curing the 'leather' in order to prevent contamination, Whisperers craft and don full-head masks that allow them to blend into herds and guide them like sheep for strategic or defensive benefits.
Nothing is known about the lives of the Whisperers prior to or as the outbreak began, or when and where their group was first formed. It is likely some members, like "Alpha" and her daughter, knew each other.
At some point after the outbreak, these survivors discovered an ingenious way to be protected from walker attacks by killing the walkers and using their skins to mask their scents in order to move freely among their herds. They also use this disguise in order to attack other survivor camps and settlements. All of the group members shed their previous identities and names, becoming nothing but hardened and primitive survivors. The group communicates whilst moving among herds by whispering with gruff voices, hence their name, similar to what a walker may sound like if it could talk. At some point, a woman known only as "Alpha" became their leader, with a man known only as "Beta" serving as her right hand man and the group's second in command. By herding walkers, the group was eventually able to culminate a large horde numbering in the thousands to be used as a potential weapon.
Six years after Rick's presumed death, the communities have become fractured and distrusting of one another. Travel between groups is infrequent, and the wider world has transformed. Most technology and infrastructure from the old world have long since stopped working, and the vast areas outside settlements have been taken over by nature. On a mission to set up improved radio communication, Eugene and Rosita move out beyond the safely mapped areas near Alexandria. In the process, they unknowingly crossed into Whisperer territory. Whilst fleeing from a herd of walkers in the woods upon accidentally catching their attention, the two are relentlessly pursued, unable to lose the undead. Fatigued, they eventually slide down a small ravine on the side of a road and cover themselves with mud to mask their scents from the approaching herd. The two are then horrified to hear what sounds like speaking walkers. One is heard asking "Where are they?", while another replies "They must be close. Don't let them get away." Unbeknownst to them, the "walkers" that are speaking are not walkers at all, but Whisperers who have been leading the herd in pursuit of the pair.
After stowing Eugene in a barn, Rosita once again attempts to escape from the herd. While following an exhausted and injured Rosita through the woods, the Whisperers are heard whispering to each other ("She's still here", "Yes... don't let her get away") until she escapes far enough from them and passes out, with the Whisperers turning their attention on finding Eugene instead ("Follow the other one").
While out looking for Eugene, Daryl, Jesus and Aaron observe a large herd of about 130 or 140 in a field, and notice that the walkers are just milling around in circles, something they have never witnessed before. With a storm approaching, the three then leave. However, a Whisperer within the herd becomes aware to their presence, and watches them as they walk off. The three keep on moving but soon realize that the herd has begun to follow them, and to buy them time, Daryl activates an alarm clock and throws it into the field in order to draw them away with the noise. The three notice that the herd has doubled in numbers since they last saw it (as the Whisperers are combining herds to pursue the trio) and run away when the alarm goes off, seemingly drawing the herd to it.
Later that night, Daryl, Jesus, and Aaron locate Eugene hiding in a barn cellar. A terrified Eugene warns them about a herd of walkers hunting for him and that they need to leave immediately. Eugene then reveals to the trio that he and Rosita heard the dead whispering to each other but the others don't believe him. After separating from Aaron, Eugene, and Jesus, Daryl sets off fireworks to redirect the herd away, but a small group of the walkers in front (being guided by Whisperers) ignore the noise completely and the rest follow their lead, leaving him shocked.
Meanwhile, Aaron, Jesus, and Eugene end up at a foggy cemetery. They quickly get trapped by a locked gate, forcing Jesus and Aaron to fight off the walkers while they hear whispers in the area. Suddenly, Michonne, Magna and Yumiko arrive to help them unlock the gate. Jesus tells Aaron and Eugene to get out while he finishes taking down the walkers. He kills most of them with his sword, but as he goes to finish the last, the "walker" (who is actually the same Whisperer who noticed the trio earlier in the field) dodges and stabs him from behind through his chest, shocking everyone. The Whisperer then says to a mortally wounded Jesus "You are where you do not belong", before throwing him onto the ground.
Four more Whisperers armed with knives then emerge from the fog and run toward the group, while Daryl quickly kills the Whisperer who stabbed Jesus with his crossbow upon arriving. Michonne, Aaron, Yumiko and Magna enter the cemetery and kill off the remaining attackers. Michonne and Daryl examine one of the assailant's bodies, discovering that it is not a walker at all, but a human survivor wearing a walker mask. Before they can process the situation, whispers around them get louder and the group circles up to fight the approaching Whisperers off.
As the Whisperers advance, Michonne's group begins to flee the cemetery, taking the mask of the Whisperer that killed Jesus. As both the Whisperers and the walkers advance, Daryl kills a Whisperer with his crossbow, picking him out of the advancing walkers through the knife in the man's hand. As the herd continues to advance, Michonne stays to cover the escape of the others, killing two more Whisperers with her sword. When another one charges Michonne with a blade raised over their head, Yumiko takes them out with an arrow. As they escape, Daryl locks the cemetery gates, trapping the herd, but a Whisperer unlocks it.
The next day, as Michonne's group moves towards the Hilltop, they spot a band of walkers, unsure if they are Whisperers or not. The group lures the six walkers onto a covered bridge where Daryl tests for people by shooting them in the leg with his crossbow. The second "walker" Daryl shoots proves to be a Whisperer who screams, causing the three actual walkers to turn on the Whisperer and begin tearing him apart. The two surviving Whisperers turn to find Michonne waiting for them at the other end of the bridge. One draws a knife and attacks, but is quickly dispatched by Michonne with her katana. As the other survivors begin taking out the walkers, the last Whisperer, Lydia, surrenders and is taken prisoner to Hilltop. Despite intense questioning, Lydia refuses to reveal much about her people, claiming they all died at the cemetery and the bridge. She also states that the Whisperers had already been planning to destroy the communities. However, Michonne and Daryl don't believe Lydia's claims.
At the same time, Luke and Alden go out searching for their friends. Finding several of Yumiko's arrows, they follow the trail right into a trap set for them by Alpha. Luke and Alden are captured by Alpha and several of the Whisperers.
The Whisperers are first seen watching Magna's group in the woods when the former splits up. Later, a big group of Whisperers led by Alpha approaches the Hilltop and she asks for the return of her daughter.
Outside the Hilltop, Alpha and the Whisperers wait for the survivors to bring Lydia to her. Daryl asks them to leave and Alpha signals for more Whisperers to show up. Magna asks Alpha if they killed their people, to which the former replies "no" and warns that if they don’t bring her Lydia, there will be conflict. Daryl walks outside and Alpha instructs one of her people to bring someone. Daryl informs Alpha that he’s ready to fight her people to ensure she doesn’t get Lydia back, until he spots one of the Whisperers with a baby. Alpha explains that they’re animals and “animals have babies.” Suddenly, a couple of Whisperers bring up a tied up Alden and Luke. Alpha offers to trade both of them for her daughter.
A herd arrives and Alpha instructs her people to draw it away. Meanwhile, a Whisperer's baby starts crying, which attracts the herd. Alpha shrugs at the mother, indicating she should leave the baby to die. Alden and Luke scream in disagreement, but Alpha deems it as natural selection. The guards bang the fence to attract the walkers away from the baby, to no avail. Luke frantically signs for Connie to grab the baby. She runs out of the cornfield and grabs it after slingshotting a walker. The Whisperers around her unsheathe blades as Connie escapes back into the cornfield.
Afterwards, Daryl hands Lydia over to Alpha in exchange for Alden and Luke, who are embraced by Enid and Magna's group. Lydia apologizes to her mother and Alpha smacks her across the face, ordering her to address her as Alpha like everyone else. She then smiles at Daryl as her group leaves.
The Whisperers make their way back to their camp with Alpha grilling Lydia for what she learned on the Hilltop. Lydia lies about what she learned, failing to mention the Kingdom or any of the other communities Henry told her about. When Henry tries to rescue Lydia, he is captured by the Whisperers and taken to their camp, discovering how large their group actually is. Alpha's actions cause Sean and Helen to rebel against Alpha, only for her to kill them both.
At night, Alpha demands that Lydia kill Henry as proof of her allegiance, having noticed the feelings Lydia has for the boy. She threatens to have Beta kill them both if she refuses. Suddenly, a herd attacks the camp, killing a few unmasked Whisperers. As the Whisperers don their masks to hide amongst the herd and escape the attack, Daryl and Connie, disguised as Whisperers, arrive to rescue Henry. Henry refuses to leave Lydia behind and takes her with them as the three escape.
In the aftermath of the attack on the camp, Beta leads a group of Whisperers, made up of himself, Zion, a tracker and four unnamed Whisperers to retrieve Lydia. Hiding amongst a herd that includes a Whisperer who was bitten in the attack and died afterwards, the Whisperers track Daryl's group to an abandoned building where they have set up a barricade to separate the Whisperers from the walkers.
Separated from their herd, the Whisperers fight Daryl's group on the top floor where Daryl and Connie kill most of the Whisperers, including Zion, before Beta attacks Daryl and an unnamed Whisperer injures Henry's leg. To save Henry, Lydia releases Dog from the closet Daryl placed them in. Dog begins tearing out the Whisperer's throat, allowing Henry to finish him off. After a brutal fight, Daryl knocks Beta down an elevator shaft, apparently killing him and ending the battle.
With the Whisperers defeated, Connie draws the herd away with her slingshot and Daryl decides to head for Alexandria to get help for Henry before they keep moving, knowing Alpha and the Whisperers will never stop hunting them. Unknown to Daryl's group, Beta survives and is left trapped at the bottom of the elevator shaft.
That night, Daryl, Carol, Michonne, and Yumiko are led into a trap by the Whisperers. Alpha leads Daryl to a cliff to show him a horde of thousands of walkers with Whisperers guiding them. Alpha threatens to unleash the horde upon the communities if they cross into Whisperer territory again, releasing her captives. After leaving the area, the group finds an injured Siddiq near the border. The border is then revealed to be marked with pikes containing the reanimated heads of D.J., Ozzy, Alek, Frankie, Adeline, Rodney, Tammy Rose Sutton, Enid, Tara and Henry. Back in their own camp Beta inquires as to Lydia's fate but an upset Alpha asks to be left alone and he complies. A Whisperer catches Alpha shedding tears and she in turn slaughters him in order to ensure the group does not learn of her weakness.
At a gathering in the Kingdom, Siddiq states his belief that Alpha wanted him to spread the story of the evil that had happened and scare the communities into breaking apart. Instead, Siddiq tells a story of a heroic last stand, which began when Ozzy, Alek, and D.J. found the prisoners, allowing them to fight back. They kill several Whisperers before they are overpowered by Alpha and other Whisperers. Even though many of the prisoners didn't know each other, they fought like a family to protect each other to the very end which is how Siddiq believes they should be remembered, not as loved ones who were brutally executed.
Several months after the fair massacre, the storm has passed. In their camp, Beta tells Alpha "the time away has been good for the pack." Alpha reminds him she'll need to be strong for what comes next and Beta assures her she will be. He then flops her arm with a branch to make her strong.
The Whisperers will appear in this season.
- Alpha (Leader)
- Beta (Second-in-Command)
- Gamma (Third-in-Command)
- Whisperer 2
- Whisperer 4
- Whisperer 8
- Whisperer 7
- Whisperer 6
- Whisperer 5
- Whisperer 3
- Whisperer 1
- Over 100 unnamed members
This list shows the victims the Whisperers have killed:
- Paul Rovia (Alive)
- Hilde (Off-Screen)
- Miles (Off-Screen)
- Martin (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Casper (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Ozzy (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Alek (Alive, Off-Screen)
- D.J. (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Frankie (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Tammy Rose Sutton (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Rodney (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Adeline (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Enid (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Tara Chambler (Alive, Off-Screen)
- Henry (Alive, Off-Screen)
- 6 horses
- 1 unnamed Whisperer
- Numerous counts of zombies and unnamed people
- Whisperer 1
- Whisperer Guard
- Bitten Whisperer (Alive and Zombified)
- Whisperer Warrior
- Whisperer Tracker
- At least 23 unnamed Whisperers
- "Who Are You Now?"
- "The Calm Before"
- "The Storm"
- The Whisperers are the first group of antagonists to kill a main character during their first on-screen reveal.
- A first glimpse of the Whisperers can be seen at the end of the Season 9 San Diego Comic-Con Trailer being part of a herd, one of them is heard "whispering".
- "Whispering" is their way of communicating while walking among the dead, it's a slow, drawn out, groaning speech pattern. They sound like walkers would, if walkers could talk.
- As seen in "Adaptation", their disguises have the same flaw as the walker guts trick: they fool the walkers unless the Whisperers do something that draws attention to themselves such as one Whisperer screaming when Daryl shoots him in the leg. The real walkers promptly turned on the Whisperer as they would someone covered in walker guts who drew attention to themselves. This would explain their need to use whispering to communicate with each other as they might otherwise draw the attention of the walkers they hide amongst.
- When asked about the look of the Whisperers in the TV Series, Greg Nicotero said the following: "We looked at the comic book and in that they look like their faces are melting. They have added weight to them but we didn't really want to do that but there's no digital augmentation to the Whisperers." He added: "They're really cool and I stand on set and take photos all the time but you can't take a bad picture of them. We built the brow just far enough down the mask that it makes a shadow over the eyes and when they stand there they look creepy."
- The Season 3 episode "Clear" contains a scene that foreshadows the Whisperers:
- Morgan Jones, in a deluded rant, screams to Rick Grimes about "People wearing dead people's faces!".
- It has been confirmed by the Chief Content Officer of the franchise, Scott Gimple, that this line was totally accidental and a coincidence. "That definitely predated my knowledge of the Whisperers, because they were not at all in the book yet.", Gimple said. "Maybe that could wind up being a reference."
- They refer to themselves as a pack.
- They are also referred to as skin-jobs or skins by the other survivors.
|TV Series Groups|
|Bank Robbers • Rick's Group • The Vatos Gang • The Living • Michonne's Group • The Prisoners • Woodbury Army • Tyreese Williams' Group • The Governor's Militia • Abraham's Group • The Claimers • The Wolves • The Saviors • Oceanside • The Scavengers • The Militia • CRM • Georgie's Group • Magna's Group • The Whisperers • The Highwaymen • Jocelyn's Group • The Coalition|