Volume 11 of The Walking Dead comic book series is called "Fear The Hunters." It's a great title and there's a great reason to fear them: They eat people.
Well, we all have to get by!
It's now late in the second half of Season 4 and just about the time when this storyline might come into play. TWD has been a remix of the comics, not a straight adaptation by any means, but The Hunters will probably be featured at some point, whether in the few remaining episodes or maybe in Season 5, if they hold it over.
One of the reasons we think they might be coming this season is the tease about the most controversial episode TWD has ever done. If it isn't tied to Lizzie or Mika in a version of the Ben/Billy child killer story (also featured in the comics in the Fear The Hunters volume) it could be tied to cannibalism.
It’s possible The Hunters are connected to Terminus. They could also be connected to Joe (Jeff Kober) and his bad guys, whom Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) first met and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) is now with. Or they could be connected to whoever took Beth Greene (Emily Kinney). “Something bad” is meant to happen in Episode 15, whose synopsis mentions “brutality.” The Episode 16 season finale synopsis also mentions brutality, with the group struggling to survive.
Any of those options may or may not be connected to The Hunters. But who are The Hunters?
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 Jones. 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.
After that, and after the Billy/Ben killings, they meet The Hunters. Rick, Carl, Abraham and Morgan reunite with the others on the road to Washington, D.C. and the group runs into Father/Reverend Gabriel Stokes, 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 and gullible humans than hunt animals — and eventually they even ate their own children. When The Hunters were cornered by Rick’s group, Chris begged for their lives. But instead, Rick’s group killed them in a bloody massacre.
There are six members of The Hunters in the comics — five men and one woman. They could stick with that on TV, but they love to change the details. The Hunters had a base in the books, in an estate area with large homes. Maybe that's Terminus. Or maybe they are not connected.
Beth was apparently kidnapped by someone driving a black car with a white cross. We thought maybe that person could be a version of Father Gabriel; or he could be a version of Chris. A character named Gareth has yet to show his face on TWD Season 4, but he's meant to be a big deal. Will he be connected to The Hunters? Are The Hunters connected to Joe and the marauders from the "Claimed" house?
With only three episodes left to the season, it’s possible we won’t even see The Hunters until Season 5. Maybe they don’t want to use up the story in just a couple of hours, or maybe they’ll start the story and have it carry over. What do you think? Will we see The Hunters soon or not?
The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.