Everyone within the world of The Walking Dead recognised Beta following his death, as his past identity before the apocalypse was revealed as country singer, Half Moon.
The Walking Dead surprised its fans when one of the most prominent villains of the season, Beta, died during the tenth season. Many had believed that the show might drag his death in the world of the story into the next season of the series. However, it did not.
Instead, the writers used his death to give one of the most surprising death scenes produced by the show to date. The sequence ahead of Beta’s final demise also gave clues to his identity before the apocalypse, which was later confirmed by the actor, Ryan Hurst.
Who is Beta in the comic books?
Before revealing the identity, which made Beta so recognisable in the series, it could be of interest to know that the identity they perpetuated in the series is not the same as the one revealed in the comics.
Beta’s mystery stems from always wearing his mask, unlike the other members of the gang he was affiliated with.
Due to the mystery of it all, it was supposed that he was probably famous before the apocalypse. In the comics, that fame stems from him being a professional Basketball player, which was why he kept his identity hidden.
How the series subverted Beta’s identity
However, the series did not go with this angle when Beta’s identity was finally revealed.
Initially, it is reported that when the series creators thought of introducing the character in season, they had played with the idea of not making the actor Ryan Hurst the mask all the time.
However, Hurst was opposed to the idea, and looked to create a backstory to the character to comfortably inhabit the mask.
Hurst then created a backstory about Beta, which explained his necessity to always wear the mask as a form of comfortably moving in the new world with the secrets of his past continually following him in this new world order.
He imagined himself as a former country singer who decided to cloak his previous identity under the mask, because of who he was in the world of the story.
In Hurst’s words
Following the reveal that Beta was a country singer in the life before the apocalypse, Hurst conducted interviews explaining Beta’s back story by stating, “So I just wrote up all these ideas of him being a country music singer and having a best friend whose face that he sort of took with him. And that that’s sort of how the Whisperers were born.”
He also ddded that he also imagined that his character did all he did because someone had broken into Half Moon’s home, and after he had killed them, Half Moon discovered he was wearing his t-shirt and hence the shame in his identity.
Clues to his past identity
One thing that the show did well in subtly sharing Beta’s previous identity is the subtle hints which were shared, and not just on The Walking Dead, but also on Fear of The Walking Dead.
On the former, as Beta mourns the death of the Whisperers leader, he walked through a hotel which was filled with guitars and vinyl. One of the pictures featured a cover of Half Moon, subtly confirming his identity.
Similarly, on Fear of The Walking Dead, the same is done. A Half Moon CD cover was shown on screen before it was walked on by a group of Walkers.
A fitting death
Beta’s death was one that was fitting of the mystery of his post-apocalyptic life. This is as he died silently after being stabbed in both eyes and subsequently being torn apart by the Walkers. Throughout this ordeal, he did not make a sound.
Hurst explained the decision by stating, “Being a fan of the show, we’ve seen so many deaths where there’s people screaming and ripped apart…. I wanted to see somebody have a slow, peaceful tearing apart, and it felt very organic to throw that out there.”
The Walking Dead would continue the mystery of his identity within the world of the story as a running joke, even with the characters in the story.
This followed after the quick exchange between Negan and Daryl, when Dary recognised Beta as Half Moon and Negan dismissed it, calling him a nobody.
Hurst, who devised the country singer’s backstory, had acknowledged the comic book’s version. However, he retorted, “When I read the comic and I knew that his backstory was the basketball player, it almost felt more like a gag than anything else.”