The Walking Dead Season 4 is off and running and we're projecting our minds into the writers’ room to see where they might take us by the spring finale. Could we come across the Hunters, a group of cannibal survivors featured in the comic books? Maybe.
Some clues have already been dropped, including the announcement of three comic book characters joining the show — Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos) and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt). The three newbies are characters Rick’s group (the survivors, anyway) come across after they leave the prison, and they head on the road together to Washington, D.C.
"We're going to tell a version of the Eugene, Abraham and Rosita comic stories, that's what we do," showrunner Scott Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that there will be differences between the comic and TV versions, as usual.
We're expecting to see that trio in Episode 10.
In the comics, after the final Woodbury assault on the prison, Rick’s group goes back to Hershel’s farm for a while, and that’s where they meet Abraham and company. Then Rick, Abraham, and Carl make a detour to Rick’s hometown of Cynthiana, Kentucky to check on Morgan. In the night, they are ambushed by bandits, and one tries to rape Carl. Rick and Abraham free themselves and then Rick brutally kills the one holding Carl. Who knows if they'll even go near this particular story tangent.
Anyway, after that they meet the Hunters. Rick, Carl, and Abraham reunite with the others on the road to D.C. and the group runs into Father Gabriel, who says he can lead them to a church nearby for sanctuary. Dale, who is alive at this point in the comics, goes missing and Rick forms a search party to find him. They notice someone is watching them from the woods, and it turns out to be the Hunters.
Rick finds Chris, the leader of the Hunters, and it turns out they were the ones who took Dale. Chris told Rick they first started surviving on normal food supplies, but when that became scarce they became cannibals — figuring it was easier to kill loners or small groups of humans than hunting animals — and eventually they even ate their own children. When the Hunters were eventually cornered by Rick’s group, Chris begged for their lives. But instead, Rick’s group killed them in a bloody massacre.
One of things things The Powers The Be keep talking about this season is the idea of coming back from the terrible things you do. “Can we ever come back from the horrors that we see or perpetrate?” Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said. “Can we return to the people we once were?” Maybe this is one of those things.
We've been wondering if maybe new character Gareth could be Chris, leader of The Hunters. Maybe we'll see them on or before the season finale. It could be we won’t even meet the Hunters in Season 4 (or ever), but it’s something to keep in mind for later.
Do you think the Hunters will make an appearance this season?
The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 9 airs Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.