Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The last thing we saw (and heard) on season 9 of The Walking Dead was a mystery voice coming through on the Hilltop’s radio asking “Hello, is anybody out there?” But who was it and what did it mean?

When we spoke with showrunner Angela Kang after the season 9 finale, she hinted we would be learning more about that voice in season 10, and to now prove it, we’ve got an exclusive photo of the radio in action from the upcoming season. (This is the second photo from season 10 to be released, following our exclusive reveal of the fiery first one with Michonne.)

“This will definitely be a part of the season,” says Kang now of the radio and the voice on the other end of it. “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 by the photo that Eugene — like in the comics — will once again prove to be a key part in the proceedings. “Eugene will definitely be playing a role in the story.” Kang says. “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.”

[SPOILER ALERT: If you want to know how the Eugene and the radio story plays out in the original source material, read on. If not, avert your eyes!] In the comics, Eugene makes contact over his radio with a woman named Stephanie. After communicating for a while and slowly building trust, they both reveal their locations, with Stephanie being from a community in Ohio called the Commonwealth that has 50,000 survivors spread out over connected towns and settlements. The Commonwealth is also unique in that it operates under a class system in which residents have jobs (and, in some cases, perks) depending on what their profession was pre-apocalypse.

The Commonwealth has actually already been referenced a few times on the TV version thanks to some visual Easter eggs. A sign at the season 9 camp where people were working on the ill-fated bridge had wooden arrows pointing to HQ, Oceanside, Alexandria, Sanctuary, and Toledo — with the later seemingly being a reference to the television show M*A*S*H as well as a winking nod to the Ohio-based location of the Commonwealth. There was another playful season 9 reference in a sign attached to a windmill that read “Commonwealth Windmill & Pump service.”

But the picture above is the clearest indication yet that we could be moving into the next phase of the comic book story, and that Eugene will once again be at the center of it.

We’ll have a new piece of Walking Dead scoop every day leading up the show’s Comic-Con panel in San Diego on Friday.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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