Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was absolutely phenomenal. But it looks like the show has big things in store in the coming episodes, too. During the preview for the next few episodes of the show, there’s a point where you can distinctly hear the walkers talking if you listen closely. Start the video below right around the :38 second mark. This was also released before the season started, but a lot of viewers missed it then.
Can you hear it? It sounds like abnormal walker growling, but if you listen multiple times it will sound more like the walkers are saying “Where are they?”
Fans who have also been reading the comics already know what’s going on, since the comics are ahead of the show, but we won’t spoil it in this article. Since the show has diverged dramatically from the comics, it’s very possible that things will be done slightly differently this time around.
In the scene right after the growling, Aaron and Jesus are watching the walkers and talking about how they’re starting to act differently. They appear to be “milling around” and have never acted that way before.
There have been other times on the show when walkers appeared to act differently and viewers weren’t sure how to take it.
In Season 3 Episode 12, called “Clear,” Morgan tells Rick something about hearing walkers talking to him. Scott Gimple later said that he didn’t even know about Kirkman’s plan for the comics yet when this line was delivered. But it’s possible that it will be retconned to fit into the current storyline, or we’ll just continue assuming that Morgan was crazy at that point in time (which he was.)
Examples frequently brought up are from Season One, when the walkers seemed a lot smart. In one episode, a walker tried to use a rock to break a window, for example. Some might argue all these seasons later that incidents like this were connected to these “new” walkers we’re starting to see. However, viewers should also keep in mind that Season One was very different from later seasons of The Walking Dead. This is partially due to Frank Darabont’s involvement. He developed and executive produced the first season and part of the second season of The Walking Dead. His take on walkers diverged quite a bit from the comics and he made them smarter than the source material. Darabont was fired in July 2011 from being showrunner because AMC wanted to reduce the show’s budget, and he had a strained relationship with AMC executives. Robert Kirkman tried to provide his own explanation four years ago on a Reddit AMA, when he said: “Older zombies are less together and capable or doing things like that. Fresher zombies, which there were more of in season one, are able to do more than older, more rotted zombies.”
So differences in the walkers in Season One should not be considered connected to any differences we notice in Season Nine. However, differences are happening now, including hearing walkers talk.