Warning: Spoilers ahead for future Walking Dead TV stoylines.
The upcoming tenth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead is carrying an unprecedented amount of unknown aspects; a bizarre phenomenon for a series that generally stayed close to its source material in Robert Kirkman’s comic series until some inside baseball interference – notably key cast exits – made crucial comic/TV divergences necessary, especially regarding who is involved in the currently igniting Whisperer War. However, it seems that Season 10 will see the series set up its next major comic-inspired storyline.
Showrunner Angela Kang, who has been dishing a dollop of plot teases in the buildup to Comic-Con, has dropped another major detail on The Walking Dead Season 10 in an interview with EW. While Season 9 has set up a cataclysmic conflict between the united colonies of Alexandria and Hilltop against the stealthy, savage, skin-mask-wearing Whisperers, Season 9’s closing teaser moment had nothing to do with them, instead focused on a mystery voice coming through an unattended Alexandria radio – which Eugene (Josh McDermitt) had set up for communication between colonies – planting seeds for the show’s consequential introduction to a new community of survivors. As Kang reveals of the radios:
“This will definitely be a part of the season. It’s part of the fun mystery of the season, and it will come into play in hopefully interesting ways that turn the story. I can’t tip too much about, but I think there’s some fun to be had there.”
It appears that Eugene’s radio communication will set up the comic-inspired storyline that introduces the presence of another – far bigger and more intricately structured – community of survivors known as the Commonwealth; a storyline that, as evidenced by the recent abrupt end to the comic book series, might just end up serving as the final major shift in the TV series before it – like its comic book counterpart – comes to a natural conclusion. As Kang continues about Eugene’s role in this development:
“Eugene will definitely be playing a role in the story. He’s certainly the one that has been helping set up these ham radios throughout all the communities. There are ways in which he is very involved. He’s tech support in the apocalypse. He makes some interesting discoveries and there is a hopefully very cool, satisfying story there.”
Indeed, Kang’s description seems to set up a comic-book-adherent angle, in which Eugene begins to regularly communicate with a woman named Stephanie, who, as it turns out, is a member of the Commonwealth, a highly organized Ohio-based community consisting of about 50,000 survivors, spread across several settlements, that is run by a formal government body. While citizens of the Commonwealth are designated jobs based on their pre-apocalypse professions, the Orwellian concept that “some animals are more equal than others” starts to become apparent amongst its elite, leading to consequential conflicts with our survivors.
Interestingly, we’ve seen various Easter Eggs that hint the existence of the Commonwealth across the past two seasons. Yet, there is a predominant theory amongst the fandom that the current mystery surrounding spinoff Fear the Walking Dead’s armor-wearing, helicopter-riding group – who, based on their three-ring logo, we know to be the same people who whisked Rick Grimes away – will turn out to be the TV universe’s version of the Commonwealth (albeit a seriously upgraded version). If this turns out to be the case, then Eugene’s radio communications with Stephanie – with whom he eventually has a romantic relationship – could very well be the mothership show’s first tease of the storyline for the Rick Grimes-centered TV movies.
We’ll certainly know a lot more about this angle after The Walking Dead’s Comic-Con panel, which will be held on Friday from 1:00 – 2:00 pm PT.
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