The Walking Dead has been going strong now for 10 seasons as we follow a group of survivors trying to navigate and survive in a new apocalyptic world. With the end to humanity as we know it, anyone left must try and escape the clutches of walking zombies who seek nothing but human flesh while also fighting rival human enemies.
Since the series started, many characters have come and gone. In fact, only a handful of the original cast remains. In every case, however, no character is the same as they were when they first appeared on the show.
With that said, here are the 10 best character arcs among characters who are still currently on the long-running series, which just aired its midseason finale.
10 Rosita Espinosa
Rosita started out as a hardened bad girl who was dating the burly army guy and had a chip on her shoulder. Having learned a lot of skills from military men through her travels, as well as guys she dated, Rosita was always a fierce, don’t mess with me woman.
So what’s most interesting about her character arc is that, rather than harden further, she has softened a bit. Rosita has finally let people in, made friends, and even had a baby. She has a steady boyfriend, too. While it’s clear she is still the tough woman she always was, she has finally let her guard down.
9 Eugene Porter
Eugene is, and will always be, the awkward Eugene. But after spending time with Negan and The Saviors, he finally found his voice. Eugene doesn’t have to lie anymore to prove his worth. He’s demonstrated how valuable he is to the group even without being a fierce warrior. And he’s even picked up some warrior skills along the way.
We’ve seen Eugene go from shy and awkward to confident and awkward, not afraid to stand up for himself and take charge when it’s needed.
8 Gabriel Stokes
Arguably the most changed character of them all, when the group first met Gabriel, he was like a scared child lying in the fetal position in a corner of his church. Rife with guilt about locking his parishioners out, he struggled with his faith and his desire for forgiveness. Then he acted cowardly, made the wrong moves, and always seemed to get in the way more than he did help.
But now, Gabriel is a leader of the community. He makes tough decisions, has proven himself a worthy man in charge and isn’t afraid to wield a knife and hack someone to bits if it’s necessary.
While not the most compelling character, Aaron has become a fierce, one-handed warrior. Funny enough, he’s sort of doing what he was doing before, which is infiltrating other groups, getting information, and scouting out locations and goods.
As a soft personality, he is the only one who is able to strike a bond with Gamma, so his relationship with her could be the key to the safety of Alexandria. He has also become a better fighter following the big Saviors battle, as well as a doting father.
When we first met Negan, he didn’t exactly make the greatest first impression. We mean, he did brutally bash Abraham’s and Glenn’s heads in, after all. And through the remainder of the following seasons, he proved himself a formidable adversary to our group.
But after capture and years of imprisonment, Negan has seemingly changed. He clearly has a soft spot for kids and showed his dedication to Judith many times. He refused to kill an innocent mother and son after escaping and weirdly joined the Whisperers in what many assume is an undercover operation to infiltrate the group from the inside and take Alpha down. Is he fully reformed? We don’t know yet. But all signs point to yes.
5 Carol Peletier
It’s hard to remember that in the first season, Carol was nothing more than a timid, battered housewife who escaped danger with her abusive husband and teenage daughter and met up with the group.
Following the death of both her husband and daughter, Carol has proven herself to be a resilient, strong woman who can do more than she ever gave herself credit. She has made really tough decisions, lost several children along the way, and been a chameleon who can adapt to any situation and person.
Jerry was once just King Ezekiel’s right-hand man, but he has become so much more than that. Still dutifully by Ezekiel’s side, even if Ezekiel doesn’t feel as though he’s worthy of the king title and Jerry’s unwavering friendship, Jerry has mellowed a bit.
Always jovial and funny, Jerry has now settled down and had a family of his own, going from warrior to daddy duty. Of course he can still protect his community and its members. But he has also changed a diaper or two as well.
We forgot that Alden used to be a Savior, but he’s proof that some of the members weren’t completely indoctrinated as “Negan” and were simply doing whatever they had to do in order to survive.
He proved himself worthy of the group’s trust and even had a relationship with Enid before her untimely death. He might not get a ton of screen time, but for someone who was once shooting and charging at the Alexandrians, Alden has definitely turned over a new leaf.
2 Judith Grimes
L’il a** kicker, as Daryl once called her, has truly lived up to the name. The combined parenting of Rick and Michonne has truly turned Judith into a confident, smart, and capable girl. She isn’t afraid of anything, always seems to have the right answers, even when adults don’t, and can hold her own against just about anyone.
It’s hard to remember sometimes that she’s just still a kid. But going from a baby to a toddler to now a fierce school-aged girl, Judith is one of the most compelling characters of the group, stealing every scene she’s in.
1 Daryl Dixon
Over the past few seasons, Daryl has been the same brooding, angry motorcycle man he has always been. But from the beginning of the series, he has changed tremendously. Once under his older brother’s thumb, believing he was good for nothing, Daryl came out of his shell and found purpose in the apocalypse that he clearly didn’t have in the world prior.
What’s nicest to see, however, is Daryl doing things like learning sign language in order to communicate with Connie. Is there a little crush between them? Probably. But we still want to see a romance between Daryl and Carol, the only two original cast members left.