Andrew Lincoln On ‘Walking Dead’ Season 5: ‘It Feels Like A New Show’ [SPOILERS]

The Walking Dead‘s mid-season premiere is less than a month away. But following the chilling events of the mid-season finale, series star Andrew Lincoln feels like the show has completely changed gears.

[Warning: Spoilers Ahead!]

Andrew, who plays leader Rick Grimes, told the Daily Mirror the following when asked about Walking Dead Season 5.

“The scripts that I’ve read and what we’ve been filming so far — it feels like we’re moving into a new show.”

“It just feels like a new place visually and also story-wise… It’s very hard not to be brutalized by this world — but there is a sense in Rick that he’s going to pull people through.”

Norman Reedus, meanwhile, who plays Walking Dead fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, agrees with the shift in dynamic the show is experiencing.

“We used to move in a direction based on fear… now we’re running towards things, and we’re hitting things head-on.”

While fear will always be a driving force, the reason Lincoln and Reedus feel the shift in the group’s dynamic can be attributed directly to the crushing events from the mid-season finale of Walking Dead. Fan favorite — and potential love interest for Daryl Dixon — Beth Greene was inexplicably killed off just as Rick and company appeared to have rescued her from the demented police officers running the hospital where Beth had been held captive throughout the season.

The final scene of the episode showed a distraught Daryl Dixon carrying Beth’s lifeless corpse out of the hospital where her sister Maggie had just arrived. And while many questioned why Maggie had not previously been searching for her sister as the season progressed, it was clear from her reaction — and a promo video released online — that her character was crushed by the loss.

Meanwhile, Rick Grimes and company press forward. As reported by Inquisitr, a new villain (or villains) appear to be on the horizon. According to the International Business Times, a rumor circulating is that The Whisperers — a group of humans wearing the skins of zombies to protect themselves from walkers — may be the next villain Andrew Lincoln will have to ward off.

Fans of Robert Kirkman’s comic book were first introduced to them in issue #130 of the graphic novel, though they have yet to make an official appearance on The Walking Dead TV series. The theory behind The Whisperers playing a major role in upcoming episodes hinges on the return of Morgan, who once spouted gibberish at Rick about “people wearing dead people’s faces.”

The Walking Dead Season 5, Part 2 premieres in February on AMC.