The Walking Dead’s upcoming tenth season will arrive this fall under the weight of outside context, with the developing TV movies that will focus on Andrew Lincoln’s returning Rick Grimes, the imminent exit of Michonne actress Danai Gurira, and the most recent development, the sudden end to the show’s primary source material in Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. Indeed, an endgame for the show now seems visible on the horizon. While things will likely be clearer after Comic-Con next week, some news has surfaced about a character from the comic series who’s set for a (belated) TV debut in Season 10.
Dante is coming to The Walking Dead TV series, as showrunner Angela Kang reveals to EW. Representing one of the major divergences between the storyline of the TV show and comic, Dante has been a major player in the comic’s storyline since the outset of the post-“All Out War” era – a period set a few years after the Saviors conflict in which Maggie has become leader of the Hilltop colony. Introduced in The Walking Dead #131, published on September 10, 2014, Dante is initially depicted as a Hilltop denizen who, due to his sarcastic, sardonic demeanor, tends to rub some people the wrong way. As Kang explains:
“We’ll be meeting the character Dante from the comics.” She describes the character, stating, “He is this roguish, fast-talking, sometimes charming, sometimes annoying guy who can sometimes put his foot in his mouth, but is an interesting presence in the comics.”
Of course, the context of Dante’s arrival on The Walking Dead TV series will be significantly different, due to its increasing (and distributive) array of universe-altering events that did not occur in the comics such as Carl’s death, Rick being presumed dead, different head-pike victims of the Whisperers and a much longer time-jump (just to name a few). Consequently, TV Dante will manifest without his comic counterpart’s claim to fame – that being his awkward courtship with widow Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who disappeared last season, leaving a leadership vacuum at Hilltop. Indeed, Kang covers a significant TV alteration to Dante’s arc, revealing that he won’t even be a Hilltop resident. As she explains:
“He’s actually a love interest of Maggie. But in our world, the context is a little different, and he will play an important role in the story in Alexandria. So, we’re excited about that.”
While no details were revealed about who will be cast as Dante (we are a week away from Comic-Con, after all,) this is quite an intriguing addition to the series. Interestingly, while the series has, thus far, managed to cover the fundamental aspects of the comic book without the Dante/Maggie romance angle, the introduction of Hilltop-captured Savior Alden (Callan McAuliffe) during “All Out War” framed a few scenes between the character and Maggie that had fans speculating that Alden was destined to become the show’s version of Dante – at least, until the next season when he became a love interest to Enid. Likewise, there was another theory that had Hilltop guard Eduardo (Peter Zimmerman) sized up as TV Dante, despite the fact that Eduardo has a comic counterpart.
On another note, Kang – who’s also teasing the arrival of some “cool characters” this year – was pressed with a question asking if one of said characters might be a “Princess,” which is a clear reference to popular comic character Juanita Sanchez, a.k.a. Princess, an Alexandria resident who, besides having an eccentrically boisterous personality, has plenty of roamer-killing skills. On the possibility of Juanita being amongst those “cool characters,” Kang coyly replies: “I don’t know. But we do love royalty on our show.”
The Walking Dead will (obviously,) be a prominent part of AMC’s San Diego Comic-Con take-over festivities this year, with the show’s panel set to take place at Hall H on Friday, July 19 at 1 p.m, directly following spinoff Fear the Walking Dead’s noon panel.