Both on comic book pages and television, The Walking Dead boasts a huge collection of characters. Although many of the TV characters have roots in the comic series, they aren’t always portrayed in the same way. Some characters feature minor differences from their comic book counterparts, but it isn’t uncommon for others to be completely rewritten — often to the point of being unrecognizable.
For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the zombie-drama’s various survivalist heroes to see how they’ve changed from the pages to the small screen. Obviously there are some similarities, so we’ll be placing an emphasis on the most glaring differences.
Naturally, this list will draw from both the TV show and the comic series, so there may be minor spoilers ahead. We won’t be covering characters who have been made specifically for television either, unless they correspond to somebody from the comics. Before anybody mentions it, yes: Daryl is made for television, he isn’t in the comics and he isn’t on this list.
The television show usually does a solid job making things comic-accurate, but sometimes the creative choices seem to come out of nowhere. Characters can be assigned wildly different story arcs, some are killed off immediately, and some live way past their narrative expiration date.
Here are 15 Walking Dead Characters That Are NOTHING Like The Comics
15. Morgan Jones
Morgan’s two depictions start out similar. He finds Rick early in the outbreak and explains the rules of The Walking Dead universe. The only difference is the subplot about his wife, which was made for specifically for television. He remains absent for many years in both the comic and show. Rick and Morgan run into each other again years later, when Morgan is on edge after the death of his son — but the similarities end there.
In the comics, Morgan still cares for his zombified son Duane, who he can’t bring himself to kill. After some convincing, he joins Rick in the hopes of moving on. He takes a backseat for most of the series, and dies when a walker horde breaches the Alexandria settlement.
On the show, Morgan is a vicious killer on the verge of insanity. He refuses to accompany Rick, and only reappears when the gang gets to Alexandria. He also became a martial arts master in the process, resulting in a drastic personality change from the comics. Morgan survived the horde that would have killed him, and is still a living character.
14. Hershel Greene
The god-fearing farmer lets the Atlanta survivors share his property until they bust open the barn and finds his hidden gaggle of walkers. In both iterations, Hershel is not happy about it due to his perception of zombies as “sick” people, but eventually joins the the gang when the farm is no longer safe.
The loving moral center of the TV show is cold and unlikeable in the comics. He never fully trusts Rick and mostly keeps to himself — other than expressing his disapproval of Rick’s leadership. During the Governor’s assault on the prison, he gives up and literally asks the Governor to kill him — and the Governor obliges.
On the show, Hershel loses a leg (an event attributed to Allen in the comics), but eventually becomes a vital part of the main cast. He mentors Rick on leadership and fatherhood, and serves as one of the prison’s doctors. In one of the show’s most heart-wrenching deaths, good-natured Hershel is captured by the Governor and executed with Michonne’s sword — instead of Tyreese, who suffers that fate in the comics.
13. Carol Peletier
Perhaps the most divergent of characters, Carol is practically a new person in the show. Her backstory remains the same: married to an abusive man, and mother to Sophia. A timid, weak Carol joins the survivors in Atlanta, and becomes a mainstay.
Comic book Carol is much younger — in her twenties. She is emotionally dependent on her romantic interest, Tyreese. She witnesses his affair with Michonne, which drives her over the edge. Carol begins to act erratically, expressing her need for romance to anyone who will listen. She even tries to negotiate a polygamous marriage with Rick and Lori out of desperation. Unable to cope with the rejection, she commits suicide.
On screen, Carol overcomes her timidity, her victimization, and the loss of her daughter, living way past the events of the prison. She’s become one of the most capable, reliable, and ruthless characters in the series — arguably the subject of the best changes from comic to screen. Melissa McBride’s fearful-to-fearless portrayal of Carol is utterly compelling and rightfully a fan favorite.
Although Enid is technically a new character, she is largely based on Carol’s daughter, Sophia. While Sophia was killed off in the second season of the show, her comic counterpart is still alive and her narrative responsibilities have now been relegated to Enid.
Enid managed to survive on her own after her parents’ death, and eventually finds herself in Alexandria. Since then, she has become a close friend to Carl Grimes and a surrogate daughter to Maggie, just as Sophia did after Carol was killed.
She’s mainly a background character, but her personality is vastly different from Sophia’s. Enid is cold and distant. She also tends to be more courageous than Sophia, often exploring the world completely alone. Enid has gotten friendlier since her early appearances, but possesses no longstanding connections with any of the cast, minus a will-they, won’t-they relationship with Carl. She’s basically just a replacement for Sophia —a placeholder, whose personality is yet to be fully-fleshed out.
11. Tyreese Williams
Due to the creation (and utter popularity) of Daryl Dixon, Tyreese went from a lead character in the comics to a background player on television. In the comics, Tyreese is Rick’s longtime right-hand man and trusty survival ally. On TV, his role is eventually filled by Daryl, despite his early tendency to act as a loner. For television, Tyreese is instead involved in subplots, and is depicted with an entirely new, pacifist personality.
Instead of the heavy-hitting zombie killer of the comics, Tyreese is sensitive, moral, and only uses violence when absolutely necessary. Ironically, his TV love interest is killed by Carol when an infection breaks out at the prison, unbeknownst to Tyreese. He spends most of his lifespan on the series tending to baby Judith Grimes, and is killed by a walker at Wiltshire Estates in season five.
His comic book death comes after he and Michonne angrily sneak into Woodbury to kill the Governor. Tyreese is captured and beheaded by the governor — a death attributed to Hershel Greene on television.
10. The Governor
The Governor remains pretty true to the comics, but with one fatal flaw. He’s got the imposing presence, the army, the tank, and the eyepatch… but he’s nowhere near as brutal.
Neither interpretation is very friendly, but the Governor of the comics is vicious. The show leaves out much of his violent behavior: namely chopping off Rick’s right hand and his sickening torture of Michonne, which we won’t get into here. This also results in the show’s thinly-written rivalry between the two, as she seems to hate him even though the torture never occurs. She simply (and rightfully) doesn’t trust him.
The Governor also receives some extra limelight for TV, with episodes exploring his life after the destruction of Woodbury. This storyline, where he befriends Lily and Tara Chambler as well as another group of survivors, was written specifically for television. The comics feature Lily as a Woodbury citizen, and in both versions she kills him all the same.
9. Sasha Williams/Holly
Tyreese’s little sister Sasha was written for the TV series, and does not exist in the comics. However, she is a clear amalgam other comic characters: namely Holly, a native of Alexandria. Holly exists on the show as an extra without much screen time. As a result, the only story involving her fell to Sasha.
Like Holly, she becomes romantically involved with Abraham. Both Sasha and Holly are captured by Negan and used as hostages, and both are already dead upon their release. Despite this, Sasha started out as an original character. All of her relationships aren’t based on anything comic-related (specifically with characters like Tyreese and Bob Stookey), but she eventually fulfills Holly’s role in the cast.
One of the show’s most unlikeable characters is actually one of the comic’s best. On television, Andrea came off as a naive side character who somehow thought the Governor was a great guy. In the comics, Andrea is a strong, level-headed survivor who falls in love with Rick and cares for Carl as his surrogate mother.
When she was killed off in season three, her narrative duties were split between three characters: Sasha, Rosita, and Michonne. All three characters were already tough, but Sasha and Michonne inherited her marksmanship (something Michonne of the comics could never handle). Rosita briefly enacts Andrea’s relationship with Spencer Monroe, similarly rejecting him. However, Michonne demonstrates the most influences from comic Andrea; acting as Rick’s wife. Michonne even receives most of Andrea’s lines — most notably her “We Don’t Die” monologue to Rick.
7. Judith Grimes
In both versions of The Walking Dead, Judith was born to Lori Grimes during the prison saga. The TV adaptation’s glaring difference? Judith is alive. She might only appear in an episode every now and then, but in the comic series, Judith does not survive the battle with the Governor.
When the Governor and his men assault the prison, Rick and the gang don’t stand much of a chance. With no other option but escape, the heroes rush to evacuate. Lori, running with Judith in her arms, was shot from behind by Lily Caul (or Chambler, for TV fans). The bullet impact caused her to fall over, crushing Judith to death beneath her.
Horrified, Rick knew Lori would not survive and that Judith was already dead. He had no choice but to leave them behind amidst the heavy gunfire. This tragic death was understandably changed for the show, where infant Judith now lives in Alexandria — predominantly in safety.
6. Shane Walsh
Rick’s best friend has been overhauled for television, but his core characteristics remain intact. Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of Shane still pines after Lori, and still wants to keep her after Rick miraculously returns from his deathbed. However, while the character only lasted six issues in the comic, Shane remained for almost two years of television as his character arc was deeply fleshed out.
Instead of immediately seeking revenge after Rick’s return, Bernthal’s version of Shane takes longer to reach the same point. The show uses Shane as an example of society’s deteriorating sense of morality; as the zombie outbreak has pushed people to their limits for survival.
His transition to violence is slower and more psychological. Over time, we see him kill innocents in self-preservation and conspire against his closest allies. His twisted outlook on the world is compelling in season two, but only serves as a precursor to what Rick will eventually become, making his characterization infinitely more satisfying than it was in the comics.
5. Lizzie and Mika/Ben and Billy
Sisters Lizzie and Mika are based on Ben and Billy, children of Allen and Donna. Allen and Donna exist on the show as part of Tyreese’s initial group. Donna dies immediately, while Allen and Ben (his only son on TV) end up joining the Governor. In the comics, Allen and Donna don’t survive, and their sons would be adopted by Dale and Andrea, who begin to notice Ben’s psychopathic tendencies.
In an effort to retain this subplot, Lizzie and Mika were created for television. Aside from the gender-swap, these characters mostly remain the same. Just as Ben mutilates a cat, Lizzie is hinted to torture frogs. When the prison falls, the sisters are cared for by Carol and Tyreese until they also realize how dangerous Lizzie’s habits are to their safety. After Lizzie kills her sister, Carol shoots her.
In the comics, the group cannot decide how to deal with Ben, as nobody wants to kill a child. They instead keep Ben in captivity while they brainstorm a solution. Frustrated with the adults’ inaction, Carl decides to kill Ben in cold blood while the rest of the group is asleep. Yikes.
The stoic samurai’s temperament has softened into something more sensitive and maternal for television. She’s still a badass who shouldn’t be messed with, but after taking on aspects of Andrea from the comics, Michonne’s lost her silent and mysterious demeanor.
She’s also nowhere near as romantically-inclined as her comic counterpart either, as her romantic flings with Tyreese, Morgan, and Ezekiel have thus far been omitted on TV — likely because of her relationship with Rick. She’s also friendlier and more comedic, demonstrating a sense of a humor that is almost nonexistent in the comics.
Her brutality has also been toned down, as the show drastically changes Michonne’s vengeful torturing of the Governor. In the comics, she doesn’t stab his eye out in a scuffle— she spoons it out, on top of other unmentionable acts of violence. She’s a fan favorite in both mediums, but the comics better capture her ability, mystery, and rage.
3. Ron and Sam Anderson
These brothers are extensions of the same character. In the comics, Jessie Anderson only has one son— Ron. Ron is aged-up for the show to better match with Chandler Riggs’ teenage portrayal of Carl (though they should both be Sam’s age).
The show’s version of Ron is based around the mature aspects of that character — his hatred of Rick and Carl, and his need to avenge his abusive father, Pete Anderson. In the comics, this comes off as a squabble between children, On the show, it’s much grittier. Ron literally plans to murder Carl.
Sam was made specifically for TV and takes on the other half of comic Ron: the innocent, traumatized child. It wouldn’t make sense for a teenage Ron to embody this, so Sam was created to expand upon the concept, with an arc involving Carol and her delicious cookies.
2. Rick Grimes
Though mostly comic-accurate, Rick Grimes has received some major alterations. First off, he has both of his arms. Perhaps due to it being too difficult to believably (or cheaply) implement the special effect, the Governor never cut off Rick’s arm as he did in the comics — though it was hinted at in the first and last episodes of season seven.
His arm is a minor change in comparison to his personality, which varies wildly between the two versions. Andrew Lincoln’s portrayal of Rick seems very unstable, sometimes lacking a level-head in times of crisis. He’s temperamental, quick to violence, and doesn’t always demonstrate the most strongest capacity for stress. When Lori was killed, he went completely catatonic. He often hears voices, suffers violent outbursts, and cannot decide whether to be a diplomatic leader or a murderous cutthroat.
Rick has his moments of instability in the comics as well, but he never proves to be as unreliable as he is in the show. Don’t get us wrong though — if he’s losing his mind, we totally understand. His life is a nightmare.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is an incredible Negan. With a presence both comedic and utterly terrifying, he’s tons of fun to watch and arguably one of the most entertaining characters on the show. Sadly, he doesn’t fully embody the role — or rather, he isn’t allowed to.
The clearest difference between the two versions of Negan is his level of vulgarity. Because his extremely obscene dialogue cannot be used on television, he’s much… nicer? It’s not something that feels congruous with the character, but he’s essentially diet Negan. Some of his most poignant obscenities have been adapted for the TV series, but Morgan’s portrayal is still much more sedated than Negan ought to be.
While Jeffrey Dean Morgan swaggers about the set — confidently making calculated jokes while intimidating others — he exhibits a sense of irony. AMC’s Negan knows he’s scary, but is also well aware of how funny he is. Comic book Negan doesn’t possess that irony and swagger. He’s just an eccentric warlord with no filter, totally unaware of how hilarious his words actually are.
Thankfully, both interpretations work just fine, and we’ll likely have both Negans in The Walking Dead for quite some time.
What other character differences have you noticed? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below! The Walking Dead airs Sunday @8PM on AMC.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!