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How The Walking Dead Characters Should Really Look

AMC's The Walking Dead has, for the most part, followed the major events of Robert Kirkman's comic book series of the same name. Kirkman's black-and-white comic, which debuted in 2003, contains just a little bit too much content for the show to follow, however. As a result, AMC has made some dynamic changes over the years, mainly pertaining to the show's characters. Expect a few walkers and headshots as we compare The Walking Dead's TV characters to the source material. As you'd expect, there are pretty significant spoilers ahead for those who aren't caught up with either version of the story

Rick Grimes

While English actor Andrew Lincoln's resemblance to Deputy Rick Grimes in the source material is pretty on-point, even when sporting a beard, we can't help but notice a drastic difference: he's still got both of his hands. When the Governor captures Rick, Glenn, and Michonne in Issue 28, he severs Rick's right hand before he tortures and rapes Michonne, which was heavily changed for television. All horrific atrocities aside, we have a feeling Officer Grimes' amputee status played a heavy role in the development of Merle Dixon's character (more on the Dixons later), but it's still interesting to see Rick face this black-and-white apocalyptic world single-handedly, so to speak.

Shane Walsh

Jon "the Punisher" Bernthal did a stellar job of portraying Rick's partner and best friend, Shane. Officer Walsh has an affair with Rick's wife, Lori, after believing that he died in the hospital, which causes all kinds of problems when Rick returns and she ends up pregnant. Rick's son, Carl shoots Shane in both versions, but the circumstances are quite different. In the comics, Shane is shot through the neck by a tearful Carl trying to protect his father amidst a big fight; whereas on TV, Rick stabs Shane to death at the end of season two, and Carl shoots a zombified Shane to save his dad. We'll never forget the comic's depiction of Rick digging up Shane's grave to put a final bullet into the skull of his reanimated friend.

The Governor

One of the TV series' biggest changes is veteran actor David Morrissey's depiction of the Governor throughout seasons three and four of The Walking Dead. Storyline changes aside, Morrissey's Governor doesn't sport that thin, handlebar mustache, which is almost a telltale sign as to how evil he is. More importantly, the Governor's eye injury, at the hands of Michonne in both versions, happens on opposite sides of his face. After suffering the Governor's brutality in the source material, Michonne breaks free and tortures him in return. She castrates him, removes his eye with a spoon, and chops off his right arm for good measure. While this obviously didn't happen on TV, we're hoping some of Michonne's wrath is saved for Negan in future episodes.

Carl Grimes

Carl had to mature quickly to adapt to his zombie-filled environment, but for the most part Chandler Riggs has done a spot-on job of playing Rick's son. Unlike the Governor, Carl loses the same eye on the show that he lost in the comics, but at the hands of a different shooter. While Carl sports his dad's deputy hat throughout both versions, he eventually ditches his cap and eyepatch in favor of a pair of sunglasses with one dark lens. This symbolizes Carl's inner conflict, as he occasionally displays a darker, angry side that leads to some very brash decisions. We're curious to see what'll happen to Rick's cycloptic son as he reaches adulthood.


The beautiful Zimbabwean actress Danai Gurira's portrayal of the samurai sword-wielding Michonne is picture-perfect compared to the source material. Gurira brings so much to the table, capturing Michonne's kindness, ferocity, and brokenness in the comics. More obviously, she has the look completely down. While Andrea doesn't die in the comics and ultimately becomes Rick's girlfriend, we love the Richonne relationship that has flourished over the recent seasons of the show. Dear Robert Kirkman and AMC: please don't kill her off—ever.


Whatever gripes fans had with the open-ended season six finale, Watchmen and Supernatural alumni Jeffrey Dean Morgan did an awesome job as Negan, the leader of the Saviors. Artist Charlie Adlard originally based Negan's look on musician/actor Henry Rollins, who actually auditioned to play Negan on the show, but AMC ended up going with Morgan, probably because he has more acting experience. While the Governor was more refined and clean-cut on AMC, the showrunners decided Morgan should have a good amount of stubble compared to his print counterpart. Nevertheless, Morgan captures the overall look while having a laid back yet insidious tone in his voice, which sounded perfect as he recited his introductory lines to Rick's group—almost verbatim from the graphic novel.

Carol Peletier

While Danai Gurira is the living embodiment of inked Michonne, Melissa McBride's likeness and character is the exact opposite of Carol from the comics. Both Carols start off rather meek and powerless in the face of their horrible predicaments, but AMC's team decided to make its version of Carol the ultimate badass. Viewers know Carol as a broken woman who responded to the death of her daughter by turning into a hardened survivor, becoming one of the strongest members of Team Rick. In the comics, she tries clinging onto a broken relationship with Tyreese, who ends up cheating on her with Michonne. After a failed attempt to have an intimate relationship with both Rick and Lori, she eventually lets a zombie bite her, leaving her young daughter Sophia alone in the process. Another graphic novel difference: Sophia is one of the few original group members still alive to this day.

Daryl Dixon

Sorry, folks: fan favorite Daryl Dixon is completely unique to the TV series, as is his brother, Merle. While Andrew Lincoln might trust Norman Reedus as his second in command throughout the later seasons of the show, that role was often given to other characters in the black-and-white version. Remember Daryl's awesome motorcycle with the ape hanger-style handlebars? That was likely inspired by Rick on the cover of Issue 15. Unfortunately, Kirkman remains adamant that the Dixon brothers will never be featured in the printed series. Here's hoping Negan wasn't swinging in Daryl's direction at the end of season six.