Ah, it’s time for Walking Dead character comparisons, one of those ongoing pastimes of fans far and wide. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is the man caught between two worlds: his original comic books series and his roles as executive producer and writer on the TV series.
Kirkman gave the world a collection of rich characters in the bleak and exciting back drop of a zombie apocalypse. In the comics, Kirkman is judge, jury, and executioner along with Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.
For the TV series, Kirkman must work with showrunner Scott Gimple and a cadre of writers. Since the TV series started with Frank Darabont before the hand off to Gimple and Kirkman, the characters have gone through various transformations, dipping away from or melding with other characters in the comics. In the case of the Dixon brothers, they didn’t exist in the pages of Kirkman’s comics and were created by Frank Darabont, Charles Eglee, and Jack LoGiudice.
Walking Dead character appearance is not just about resembling the comics, but finding actors who can handle the action, story content, heat, bugs, and grueling hours that the series requires of its cast. For example, comic book Rick and TV series Rick vibe the same but look different. However, Andrew Lincoln has proven that he IS Rick by now, although he’s gotten to keep his hand… so far. But Coral sure got his eye shot out just like in the comic series. Ouch, buddy.
The Walking Dead casting directors, Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas (along with Gohar Gazazyan), have done a wonderful job keeping pace with the screen counterparts, added characters, character amalgams, and other alterations. It can’t be an easy job, but when comic fans saw Michonne emerge from the darkness, there were genuine chills.
Which are your favorite Walking Dead comic to screen transformations and casting choices? Vote them up to the top. Note: We’ll add new characters as they appear on the TV series so come back and check this list out.
TV Michonne: Michonne appears very much in the same way she did in the comics although TV Michonne is given a lot of the characteristics of Andrea from the comics. Michonne takes on the role of co-parenting Carl with Rick to a certain degree. And then she hooks up with Rick, giving rise to Richonne. She puts out the Governor’s eye with her katana and later kills him with it, still letting him off pretty lightly from her comic counterpart.
Sgt. Abraham Ford
TV Abraham: Abraham has a way with a catchphrase that his comic book counterpart lacks. “Motherd*ck” has become a standard in the lexicon of fans. He’s just as thirsty for violence on screen. And dies violently at the business end of Negan’s bat in the season 7 premiere, but not before flinging out his last catchphrase, “S*ck my n*ts.”
TV Ezekiel: He’s definitely younger and more fit than his book version. He’s only appeared briefly, but Ezekiel is an ally to Rick’s crew.
TV Daryl: Hot as Georgia asphalt and moodier than Beyoncé’s hair in Lemonade.
TV Glenn: Fans believed for an entire summer that Glenn might be dead. Many looked under dumpsters, praying to the television gods that he was somehow still under there. Turned out, he was. And then… he died much the same way on screen in the season 7 premiere.
TV Jesus: Jesus is very much like his comic book version and has functioned much the same way. Jesus’s sexuality is a mystery but Jaron (Jesus+Aaron) or Jaryl could be a thing.
TV Maggie: Maggie and Glenn’s storyline is similar to the comics, until Glenn fake-dies and Maggie learns she’s pregnant. Deanna sees Maggie’s leadership skills and she takes up a position as her right hand in Alexandria until Deanna becomes walker food. Maggie’s been an envoy to the Hilltop Community, so she might very well take on the role of leader.
TV Rosita: If she lives through the Negan line up, she very well might hook up with Eugene or all by herself because some of these men in the apocalypse are the worst.
TV Carl: Carl goes from being an overly protective little boy to a sort of serial killer. He’s grown up in this world and has seen and done a lot, most notably killing his mother. He nearly dies after being shot by Otis. As he hits his pre-teens, he doesn’t rebel by banging up the family car or smoking pot. Instead, he decides to venture out and take on walkers while his dad bakes away on a couch in a fever dream. His reward is a much-deserved giant can of roof pudding. He connects with Enid, a girl his age who lost both of her parents. Ron accidentally shoots Carl’s eye out in a scuffle with Rick.
TV Negan: Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been having a grand ole time at conventions and in interviews, obviously pleased with just how much hate will be coming his way when he begins killing off characters.
TV Eugene: The business in the front/party in the back hairstyle and his scientist secret stayed the same. Eugene has creepily watched Rosita and Abraham do it, but if Abraham gets his head bashed in and/or stays with Sasha, Eugene might have a shot.
TV Rick: Rick is an impressive, frustrating, and monologuing leader who sometimes makes the WORST decisions, but somehow keeps his position. Andy Lincoln has stepped into the skin of Rick with many jokes about his Southern accent, particularly his pronunciation of his son’s name. He’s held on to his right hand on TV because it’s a total bummer to work in extreme heat with ticks crawling all over you AND learn to shoot your Colt Python with a fake hand. Rick and Michonne have a fiery beginning with a lot of hostile looks and mistrust that eventually evolve into a romantic relationship.
TV Tyreese: He’s a gentle giant, reluctant to kill anyone, clinging to his hammer and humanity with all that he has. His compassion to help Noah find his family is the death of him, though, ending with a walker bite and a fever dream of dead characters. His death is used to further propel his sister Sasha into sniper-happy madness.
TV Hershel: Hershel is the moral center of the group as he was in the comics and still dies by the Governor’s hand, only he’s beheaded with Michonne’s katana as Rick and the crew watch in horror. The brilliant Scott Wilson was perfect to play the beloved character from the comic. Both the paper and TV deaths were met with shock.
TV Heath: Heath’s story has yet to evolve in any significant way. He may take on more of a role once the gang gets away from Negan. If they can get away from Negan, that is.
TV Dale: Dale meets Andrea and her sister when the world goes to hell, giving them shelter in his RV. After Amy’s death, Dale grows worried about Andrea’s mental health and is overly protective. Although the two are close, they do not become a couple. Dale’s other main focus is following Shane around and giving him the wild judgment eyes. He’s so distracted by Shane, he doesn’t see the walker in the field who eats him. Daryl has to shoot him.
TV Morgan: When you cast Lennie James, you’ve got to give him more meat in a role. Morgan’s journey has taken him from a man who had to take down his walker wife and then his young son to madness to taken up the Bo at Eastman’s behest to becoming the yin to Carol’s yang.
TV Judith: She’s still with us and will probably grow up to be a serial killer just like her brother.
TV Aaron: So far, they appear to be pretty similar. And he’ll probably react the same way if someone kills Eric.
TV Carol: The meek, abused housewife kills her abusive molester husband with a pickaxe just before he turns. Having matured into an unstoppable killing machine, Carol’s trying real hard to be the good shepherd and not kill everyone in her path.
TV Sophia: Due to budget constraints and some behind the scenes infighting among the producers, Rick and the Crew spent a whole season on Hershel’s farm. Good news: Maggie and Glenn happened. Bad news: the loss of Dale. And a wowzer of an ending with walker Sophia emerging from the barn, leaving Rick no choice but to kill her.