AMC's The Walking Dead has played host to dozens of characters over the years, but here are the precious few that are still alive going in to the mid-season 8 premiere. By its very nature, The Walking Dead doesn't tend to be kind to its characters. When one exists in a post-apocalyptic landscape full of flesh-eating walkers, the odds of survival are understandably limited. Still though, some characters do manage to keep on keeping on, no matter what horrors they face.
With that in mind, The Walking Dead season 8 has already seen lots of characters meet grisly ends, both major and minor. King Ezekiel's army got slaughtered by the Saviors before they could continue to mount an ill-advised attack on a compound. Aaron's beloved Eric ended up bleeding out from a gunshot wound and turning into a walker. Even ferocious tiger Shiva wasn't safe from death, and those are just a fraction of all the deaths that have taken place during season 8 so far.
When one talks The Walking Dead survivors, though, there is no better name to start with than Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), former cop and now perennial leader of his own makeshift family. The family triumphantly grows and it sadly shrinks, but Rick remains the one true constant. Still currently by his side is son Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), although that looks likely to change soon, as The Walking Dead season 8's mid-season finale revealed that he had been bitten by a walker. Also still in the fight is one of Rick's closest confidants, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus). One of the most reliable warriors Rick has, Daryl truly has a heart of gold - something that can be a burden in the brutal post-apocalypse.
Next on the list of those still among the living is Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), who began as a battered wife and eventually evolved into one of the biggest badasses on the series. Near Carol on the list of biggest Walking Dead badasses is Maggie Rhee (Lauren Cohan), who started out as a normal farm girl, but is now arguably as good or better a leader than Rick. With Cohan's contract situation uncertain though, one wonders if Maggie will survive season 8. Another badass that's still around to battle Negan is the sword-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira), who has long outlived her old pal Andrea at this point.
Now to look at some of the more recent additions to The Walking Dead cast that are still kicking around. One of those is Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson), who hasn't been doing too well personally since the unfortunate death of girlfriend Denise. Also still drawing breath are former Abraham Ford traveling companions Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), and Rosita (Christian Serratos). Despite his past misdeeds, former priest Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) still lives as well, as does the formerly psychotic Morgan Jones (Lennie James), who will soon transfer over to spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.
To round out the list of Walking Dead characters that have yet to meet their makers, there's Aaron (Ross Marquand), Jesus (Tom Payne), Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Dwight (Austin Amelio) and King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) on the side of good, or at least on the side of Rick. On the other side of the moral fence are sniveling former Hilltop leader Gregory (Xander Berkeley), Negan's top lieutenant Simon (Steven Ogg), and Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh), leader of the junkyard-dwelling Scavengers. Oh yeah, and Negan himself (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is most definitely still alive, and ready to cave some more skulls in with his trusty weapon Lucille.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, 25th February at 9pm.