The Walking Dead is one of the most-watched shows on television. It has captivated viewers since 2010 and is currently on its 9th season. Fans can’t get enough of their favorite zombie-ending characters. They tune in every Sunday to see who the group will face off with next, whether it’s a herd of walkers or a rival group of humans.
While the show has lost many important people, including the series lead, Rick Grimes, in the current season, it will continue on into season ten without them. Many actors have come and gone, and each have brought their own unique energy to the show. Some stuck around for years while others only lasted a handful of episodes. Fans have loved and disliked quite a few characters over the past decade.
Being on a show that is so popular tends to shove people into the spotlight. Different actors handle that attention in different ways. Some enjoy the attention, while others aren’t sure how to handle intense fans, some of which send hate to actors who play evil characters. There have been many people on and off the show over the years, so here are 6 Actors Who Regretted Being On The Walking Dead (And 14 Who Adored It).
20 Adored: Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
When The Walking Dead was first announced, fans of the comics were skeptical about who would play the main character. Once the first episode aired, it was clear that Andrew Lincoln was going to be a great Rick Grimes.
The actor just departed from the show in season nine, but he adored his time as Rick enough that he’s going to star in a few movies as the character. He’s always been fascinated with the world the show built and is excited at the concept of exploring more.
Lincoln is also set to direct some episodes, so he loved being on the show enough that his time on The Walking Dead is not truly over.
19 Regretted: Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale)
He hasn’t been around for quite a while, but Walking Dead fans remember Dale from seasons one and two. While his demise was sad, the actor who played him, Jeffrey DeMunn, actually asked to leave the show.
Losing Dale seemed very sudden to fans, and DeMunn planned it to be that way. AMC’s dismissal of the showrunner Frank Darabont was the reason behind his leaving. He was so angry about his friend’s dismissal that he refused to be on the show any longer.
He called his departure from The Walking Dead “an immense relief.” It sounds like he couldn’t leave the show fast enough. He simply didn’t want to be a part of it any longer.
18 Adored: Austin Amelio (Dwight)
When Dwight first appeared on The Walking Dead, fans disliked him. He did some bad things to Rick’s group, from taking Denise’s life to harming Daryl. After learning his backstory and why he was loyal to Negan, fans began to understand him.
He proved his loyalty to the group after a while, and even though many of them disliked him, especially Tara and Daryl, they understood what he went through and left him alive. This allows the actor to crossover onto Fear The Walking Dead.
Austin Amelio loved his time as Dwight on The Walking Dead so much that he’s excited to continue the role in the same universe, even if on a different show.
17 Adored: Norman Reedus (Daryl)
Ask someone their favorite character on The Walking Dead is and odds are they will say Daryl Dixon. He’s been the fan favorite for years now and has become the face of the show now that Rick is gone.
Norman Reedus is a huge fan of the show and has made it clear time and time again that he would play Daryl for as long as they want him to. He has said he wants to stay on the show until the very end.
After all the energy he has put into playing Daryl, he wants to see it through until the finale. Fans don’t have to worry about him going anywhere. Reedus absolutely loves being a part of The Walking Dead.
16 Regretted: Tom Payne (Jesus)
Jesus first appeared on The Walking Dead in season six. While he was in the group for a few seasons, a lot of fans found his character annoying or unimportant.
In the comics, he’s still around, but he passed away on the show in season nine. While the actor initially was excited to be on the show, Tom Payne was very bored with his role by the time his character’s passing came around.
Apparently, in the comics, his character is a lot more involved in the war with the Saviors and he was frustrated how that was shifted on the show. He wishes they had done more with the character, particularly the possible romance that was blooming between Jesus and Aaron.
15 Adored: Chandler Riggs (Carl)
Fans were shocked at the news Chandler Riggs would be leaving The Walking Dead in season eight after being bitten by a walker. Carl was a huge part of the show, and his passing made a lot of fans upset.
Some think that his leaving was the moment the show went downhill, while others still love the show even without Carl. Regardless of what fans think, it was clear that Riggs was really upset to leave the show.
He absolutely loved his time as Carl. While he is excited to move on to new projects, he’s made it clear he is grateful for his time playing Rick’s son. He was happy with how his ending turned out, even if it was unexpected.
14 Adored: Jon Bernthal (Shane)
Shane is one of the most memorable characters from the early days of The Walking Dead. While he hasn’t been around since those early seasons, he's incredibly important to the plot in seasons one and two.
Jon Bernthal, who played Rick’s obsessive and jealous best friend, has said he’s “so unbelievably grateful” for his time on the show. While he was sad to see his character go, he understands why Shane had to perish. He had an incredible character arc that was perfectly summed up when Rick had to take his life.
He even attributes his role on the zombie drama to jump-starting his acting career. He’s also still in touch with many of his Walking Dead costars.
13 Regretted: Steven Yeun (Glenn)
Glenn was a fan-favorite character up until his unfortunate ending at the hands of Negan and Lucille. In fact, many fans stopped watching the show after he was gone. The show didn’t realize quite how much he meant to fans until after he was gone.
While Glenn was extremely important to the storyline, Steven Yeun has mixed feelings about playing the character and that it even gave him an existential crisis. The show was so big he almost felt like it swallowed him up.
While he acknowledges his character’s importance, he has no interest in ever reprising his role. He said he felt trapped in the role and whatever people thought he should be. He has put his Walking Dead days far behind him.
12 Adored: Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori)
There aren’t many characters that Walking Dead fans find more annoying than Lori Grimes. In the early seasons, fans couldn’t wait for her to leave the show. Her love triangle with Rick and Shane drove people crazy, and not in a good way.
Most people would expect the actor playing a disliked character to be upset with their role at times, Sarah Wayne Callies loved playing her. Lori was annoying and it didn’t bother the actor one bit.
She actually enjoyed playing a disliked character and appreciated the challenges it brought her. While Lori was basically hated by fans, she made a big impact on the storyline of the show. Callies is really proud of her work because of that.
11 Adored: Michael Cudlitz (Abraham)
Abraham left the show in season seven after being unfairly beaten by Negan, but the actor who played him is still down to reprise the role.
There was a tape on Fear The Walking Dead with Abraham’s name on it, prompting fans to wonder if they would ever see the character again, and it seems possible. Michael Cudlitz was asked if he would ever want to play Abraham for a future Walking Dead movie or short and he said yes without any hesitation.
Even if they don’t want him to reprise his role, Cudlitz has expressed interest in directing some episodes of The Walking Dead. He adored his time as Abraham and is a big fan of the show as a whole.
10 Regretted: Laurie Holden (Andrea)
Mention the name “Andrea” to most Walking Dead fans and they’ll immediately get annoyed. She’s considered the most annoying character in the show’s history by a large number of fans.
The actor who played her, Laurie Holden, is pretty bitter about how things ended for both her and her character. Andrea was originally supposed to be on the show until season eight. Holden revealed she was supposed to end up with Rick and save Woodbury on a horse.
Supposedly, she found out her character was going to be bitten the day before shooting the scene. Her character in the comics does not perish the same way and even beings a romance with Rick, so it was quite a shock.
9 Adored: Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
Sonequa Martin-Green played Sasha on The Walking Dead for four seasons before her character lost her life. Sasha started out an aggressive loner who was skeptical of everyone and eventually became a hero who sacrificed herself for the group.
The actress was grateful for her time on the drama and thought her character’s arc was beautiful. She’s described her experience on the show as “tremendous” and “divine”. She wasn’t sure where she would go after The Walking Dead but said her time on it helped her land her role on Star Trek: Discovery.
She learned how to be on a show with an intense fan following and a huge reach, which has helped with her transition.
8 Adored: Khary Payton (Ezekiel)
Ezekiel certainly is a memorable character. The first time he appeared with his strange way of talking and massive tiger, fans of the show were intrigued while people who had read the comics were excited to see how he would be portrayed.
He didn’t fit in with the rest of the Walking Dead world and that’s exactly the point. He is supposed to be theatrical and unique, and the actor made him exactly that. Khary Payton, who plays Ezekiel, has described the role as “the best job” of his career.
Payton even sees some of himself in the character. The actor has nothing but good things to say about his time on The Walking Dead.
7 Adored: Lennie James (Morgan)
Morgan is one of the first characters fans of The Walking Dead ever encountered. He appeared in episode one, helping Rick after he wakes up from his coma. He isn’t seen again for a while, but he eventually comes an important part of the show.
Lennie James has loved his time playing the character. While he’s no longer going to be on The Walking Dead, he moved on to the spinoff, Fear The Walking Dead. He has said he is grateful for the enthusiasm fans have for Morgan and he enjoys playing him.
He never expected his character to become as popular as he did to the point he will cross over into a second show in the same universe.
6 Adored: IronE Singleton (T-Dog)
T-Dog goes all the way back to season one. He was a part of the original survival group and lasted until season three. His character was created just for the show, not appearing in the original comics.
The actor who played him, IronE Singleton, has nothing but good things to say about his time on the show. Back when he originally left the show, he said, “I’m just so pleased to have been part of something so special, so historical.” Singleton was proud his character went out in such a heroic way, and so were fans.
He even made a joke about returning to the show at some point as a zombie, though it seems like his dreams of it won’t be coming true.
5 Regretted: Michael Rooker (Merle)
Merle is one of the original antagonists in The Walking Dead. He was introduced as an aggressive, resentful character and fans loved to dislike him until his demise.
Michael Rooker, the actor who played Merle, was incredibly dissatisfied with the ending his character had and believed both he and the fans deserved more. He didn’t think the ending paid off after all of the build up.
He was also relieved he would never have to wear the fake arm ever again. It was his first thought when he was told he would be leaving. Rooker just doesn’t believe fans are happy about the way Merel’s life ended and seems pretty bitter about how the show treated his character.
4 Adored: Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
Viewers first met Maggie Green, who eventually became Maggie Rhee, at Hershel’s farmhouse in season two of the show. She quickly became a main character, and she and Glenn’s relationship is one of the best aspects of the show to a lot of fans.
Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, has said she loves playing Maggie and despite not appearing on The Walking Dead recently, she does plan on returning as Maggie at some point.
While there has been an issue with the actor’s salary, she has insisted, “I’m not done”. There are even rumors of a Maggie-centered spinoff. She loves The Walking Dead enough to leave the door open for her beloved character to return.
3 Adored: David Morrissey (The Governor)
Negan has been such a successful, intimidating bad guy that he’s caused a lot of fans to forget about how much they disliked The Governor back in seasons three and four. While Negan certainly is memorable, The Governor held his own as an imposing villain.
David Morrisey played the antagonist and thoroughly enjoyed his time doing so. He loved it enough that’s he has said he’d be opening to returning as the character, though it’s unclear how that would work considering his character perished in season four.
Maybe if they ever made prequel films or some sort of short he could return. Regardless of whether or not he ever plays The Governor again, it’s clear he adored his time on The Walking Dead.
2 Regretted: Josh McDermitt (Eugene)
Eugene appeared in season four of The Walking Dead, and fans have had an interesting relationship with the character throughout his time on the show. For a while, fans believed he betrayed the group, prompting a lot of dislike towards him.
The dislike was so strong that the actor who played Eugene, Josh McDermitt, received life-threatening messages. It’s hard for some people to separate the actor from the character. The negativity was so bad that he actually quit being on his social media.
He posted a video on his Facebook ranting about all the dislike he received, saying he would report anyone who threatened his life. His role on the show has clearly affected his personal life to the point he’s angry.
1 Adored: Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan)
Negan is arguably one of the most popular on The Walking Dead. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with him and his iconic barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan put his all into the role and it shows. Negan is charismatic, charming, and downright unsettling. Morgan has thoroughly enjoyed his time playing the villain and poking fun at fans. He was familiar with the Walking Dead comics when he got the role and truly understands the character.
When he first got the call about the role, he accepted without any hesitation. He was beyond excited to become Negan and has called it “something special”, though he did admit to disliking that the character wore a leather jacket in such warm weather all the time.