The Walking Dead: Iron Mask Mystery Explained

The Walking Dead season 10 finale trailer teases a mysterious new character in an iron mask. Who is behind the mask and how might this affect the story? Let's discuss.

The Walking Dead Iron Mask
Photo: AMC

The Walking Dead season 10 came to an abrupt end with episode 15, with the originally planned finale pushed back indefinitely due to the coronavirus emergency that prevented the production team from completing the episode. Fortunately, we did get a teaser for what to expect when the finale does eventually air, and it looks like quite the event.

Not only will the season 10 finale give us the return of Maggie to the show, but it will also bring the Whisperer War to a conclusion, with the communities facing off against what’s left of Beta’s horde of walkers. But that isn’t the only big reveal The Walking Dead is set to make in the finale.

A brief clip in the season 10 finale sneak peek also teases the introduction of a mysterious new character who encounters Alden and Aaron during a fight with the Whisperers. And we know nothing about this character except that they’re wearing a hoodie, are armed with two razor-sharp blades, and have covered their face with…an iron mask.

Check out the teaser for yourself:

So who is this mysterious character? We won’t know the answer to that until the finale finally airs later this year. But until then, we have some theories.

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The most obvious possibility is that this is an original character who never appeared in The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The stranger with the iron mask has no direct counterpart in the comics and may have been created specifically for the universe of the TV series. That would mean that they’re an unexpected arrival who we’ve never seen before. It’s not the first time the show has introduced characters who aren’t from the comics. See: Daryl Dixon.

But for those who think this character is actually one we’ve met before, there are at least three possibilities (and likely more). Some fans have already predicted that this character will actually end up being the show’s version of Mercer, one of the final major characters introduced in the comics. With the show headed towards what looks like the last big arc from the comic books, it’s possible that showrunner Angela Kang and the writers have decided to introduce Mercer a little sooner than expected. If you want to read more on who Mercer is and why he’s important, check out this guide to the character.

Then there are two characters who left the show but could be making their way back just in time for season 11. The first is Heath, who went missing halfway through season 7 after being attacked by walkers while on a supply run with Tara. (In reality, actor Corey Hawkins left the show to star in 24: Legacy.)

While it’s possible that he simply died, Heath had expressed his wish to leave the communities in the episode, and the fact that we never saw him die on screen could indicate he’s still out there somewhere. To add fuel to the fire, Kang suggested in 2018 that Heath might have been taken by the same people who flew Rick away on a helicopter in season 9. Could the person in the iron mask be Heath trying to make his way back to Alexandria?

The third possibility is that a familiar wanderer has returned to help his friends once again. While he didn’t wear an iron mask in season 5, Morgan did spend much of that season with his face covered while making the trip to Alexandria. He even wore a hooded outfit similar to the mystery character’s during his original reintroduction:

Iron Mask character from The Walking Dead

While it’s common knowledge that actor Lennie James and his character moved to Fear the Walking Dead after The Walking Dead season 8, his fate was left up in the air in the most recent season of the Walking Dead companion series. In the Fear the Walking Dead season 5 finale, Morgan is shot in the chest and left to die, as a group of walkers approaches him, but we don’t see what happens to him. Most fans expect to see how Morgan survived in the season 6 premiere, which is scheduled for later this year, but what if his return is actually set to happen in The Walking Dead season 10 finale? This would be a surprising twist, to say the least.

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Of course, the fact that that the masked stranger seems to be preparing to fight Alden and Aaron suggests that this isn’t Morgan (or Heath) at all since the former Alexandrian knew both characters from the time he spent in the communities.

Whoever the masked stranger is, we’ll find out when The Walking Dead returns later this year.