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The Walking Dead Confirms Alpha Is Coming, and She's an Oscar Nominee

Samantha Morton joins the cast as an iconic comics villain

Amanda Bell

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) may be taking leave of The Walking Dead sooner than some fans might've hoped in its ninth season, but there'll be a ton of fresh faces joining the fold to make up for those losses.

At Friday's Comic-Con panel, AMC revealed its line-up of cast newcomers joining The Walking Dead's forthcoming ninth season, and there's a lot of chew on here.

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For starters, Brett Butler (yes, she of Grace Under Fire fame) will arrive as a "salt-of-the-earth" type named Tammy Rose, and John Finn will portray her husband Earl who also happens to be a blacksmith. They'll both belong to the Hilltop community, and it sounds like Earl will have quite a useful skill to offer indeed.

Meanwhile, actors Rhys Coiro (Entourage) and Zach McGowan (The 100, Black Sails) will appear as Jed and Justin, respectively, two characters that are each uncooperative Saviors (big surprise that there'd be some Saviors with attitude still lingering around, eh?). Contrast them with Dan Fogler's (Balls of Fury) character Luke, a survivor who is apparently keen on making friends for the sake of safety. We can tell Luke's a smart one already.

Also, following closely on the heels of the announcement that Lauren Ridloff will join the cast as Connie, we've now learned that Angel Theory will portray her sister Kelly.

Now, here comes the big news...drum roll, please...none other than Samantha Morton -- a two-time Oscar nominee for Sweet and Lowdown and In America, but is perhaps best known for playing the Precog Agatha in Minority Report -- has signed on to star as Alpha! To repeat, that's THE Alpha, a character who many suspected might never even make it into the show, considering how big of a Rick-foil Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) turned out to be.

In the comics, Alpha is the leader of the Whisperers -- weirdos who wear walker skin as clothing and walk among the undead -- and the biggest baddie this side of Negan. Without spoiling too much, let's just say she and Negan developing an intriguing dynamic. Of course, we'll have to wait to see how closely her arc follows the page when The Walking Dead Season 9 premieres Sunday, Oct. 7 at 9/8c on AMC.