Among the many trailers shown at SDCC this year, The Walking Dead presents a lot of characters for Season 9, so we’ll alternate them to the ones from other trailers. Let’s start with one of the most important additions (and one of my personal favorites): Magna, who’ll be portrayed by Nadia Hilker. So far, we know that she’ll be a former truck stop waitress turned tough-as-nails survivor, who has been living on the road since the Outbreak began and who somehow reaches the new alliance of communities and joins them (we see her in the trailer during an introduction meeting of sort). In the comics, she’s the leader of a group of her own, and she becomes a central member of the reborn Alexandria Safe-Zone. Let’s see together.

Magna, surname unknown, was either born in Greece, or had Greek parents; either way, she ended up living and growing up in Richmond, Virginia. She had quite a normal childhood, but during puberty she realized she was a lesbian: this was quite a problem in her family, as her authoritative father was a declared homophobic, and would have never accepted her sexuality. This prompted the girl never to come out openly, and created an insecurity that accompanied her for most of her adult life. Her father eventually died, it’s unclear if during the Outbreak or before it, but his influence still conditioned Magna’s life. As the dead started to rise to devour the flesh of the living, Magna followed the Government‘s instructions and moved near Washington D. C., in a nursing home that had been prepared to be a safe haven for survivors.  The place was indeed safe, but it had clearly been intended to be a temporary housing: problem was that in the meanwhile the situation hadn’t been solved, society had collapsed, and nobody had other plans for the “temporary” havens, that were becoming more and more crowded. Eventually, Magna understood that the situation would have soon degenerated, so she organized things to leave as fast as possible… but before she realized it, some people had gathered around her and were ready to follow her. Among them there was also Yumiko, a girl Magna definitely felt attracted to, even if she still resisted her instinct. Magna didn’t want to be a leader, and told it over and over again to the other survivors who wanted to come with her, but as brave and strong-willed as she was, she naturally fit in the role, and she eventually surrendered to it. She organized an actual caravan, with horses pulling a trailer with all the group’s possessions, and the people riding on top of the trailer itself, using it as some sort of mobile building that acted also as protection from the many walkers around. Magna guided her group for seven months, and of course lost some people: a guy named Ted got bitten after getting drunk in the woods, while two women, Aubrey and Michelle, got devoured by a group of walkers. In a way or another, however, Magna managed to keep most of her group safe.

Things, of course, couldn’t have gone smoothly or close enough to it forever, and in fact they didn’t, as the group suddenly faced an enormous herd the likes they had never seen before. The walkers were so many that they attacked the horses and dragged them away, making the trailer capsize, leaving the entire group at the cannibal corpses’ mercy. Magna and her people fought for a while, but they were tragically outnumbered. Just as Magna herself was about to be bitten to an arm, a man appeared out of nowhere, riding a horse, and saved her. The man, who presented himself as Paul Monroe, helped the group fend off the walkers, but as one of them, Bernie, got eaten, he instructed Magna to free the horses of the trailer, and to get as far as they could, leaving the herd to him and to other scouts from his community. With nothing to lose, Magna trusted the stranger, and she and her group escaped riding the horses, leaving Paul behind. The man was true to his word, and he and his scouts were indeed leading the herd in another direction: Magna herself came out of hiding to help them. For this, Magna was scolded by one of her group, Kelly, who told her she shouldn’t have trusted Paul as he probably was the one who had led the herd to them in the first place, but the woman rejected this conspiracy theory, claiming that in the new world everyone was fighting to survive and nothing more. She had, however, to reconsider her trust towards the stranger the moment he invited her to his community, Alexandria Safe-Zone, under the condition that she surrendered all her weapons to him. As dubious as she was, however, she couldn’t refuse the moment Paul promised her they had a lot of food in their settlement, and she convinced also her group to follow. When they reached Alexandria, they found a thriving community, with plenty of food, no problems of security, and even families. They were greeted by the community’s leader, Rick Grimes, who met them for an interview. Rick asked Magna if she was the leader of the group, but she denied, saying that the group had no leader… only to be interrupted by her friend Luke, who confirmed that she was indeed the leader who kept the group together. Rick approved her being uncomfortable with the role, as he had been too. When Rick told her that the group’s weapons would have been kept for a few weeks in order for the others to learn and trust them, Magna was hesitant, but Luke and the others eventually voted for staying, as they didn’t want to lose the occasion of staying in such a community. Magna, however, knew that if something seemed too good to be true, it usually was, and she had no intention of letting her guard down for a single moment in what seemed to be a paradise on earth…

Magna has two very different sides of her personality somehow coexisting within her: she’s strong, smart, decisive and charismatic on one side, but she’s also insecure and introverted, terrified of someone finding out about her sexuality, on the other. She’s a reluctant yet capable leader, a caring guide able to take hard decisions even under a lot of pressure. She’s more than capable of taking care of herself, being skilled with both blades and firearms, in riding horses and in finding provisions, but she also takes care of everyone in her group, naturally assuming a leadership position that she actually doesn’t want for herself. A humble yet resolute guide, a point of reference for all the people around her, Magna is the woman you’d want by your side during the apocalypse: someone who always knows what to do, who has a unique talent to read people and detect lies in strangers. Willing or not, a true leader.