‘The Walking Dead’: 11 of the Biggest Changes Made From Comics to TV
Anyone who’s read a book, and then watched the Hollywood adaptation of the same book, knows the transition isn’t usually one-to-one. Characters are erased, new ones are added in, and plot points shift or evaporate entirely. Sometimes the adaptation is as good as its source, sometimes not so much.
In the case of AMC’s The Walking Dead, the adaptation seems to have mostly worked, which is likely thanks to writer Robert Kirkman’s continued involvement as an executive producer on the long-running zombie apocalypse show. But the past 10 seasons have not been without notable departures from Kirkman’s comics, some of which were utterly shocking to fans of the source material. Here, some of the biggest changes from page to screen.
Daryl Doesn’t Exist
While he’s a huge fan favorite on the show, in the comics, motorcycle maven and expert tracker Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) didn’t exist, nor does he have a similar counterpart.
Lori’s Death Is Different (and so Dark)
The tragic Season 3 death of Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), wife to leader Rick (Andrew Lincoln), after giving birth to baby Judith (now played by Cailey Fleming) sent Rick on a trip to Crazy Town. But in the comics, she doesn’t die in childbirth — she actually perishes during the Governor’s (David Morrissey) attack on the prison, where both she and Judith are killed. That route is obviously pretty brutal and disturbing, so it’s not hard to see why the change was made for the show.
Andrea Gets a Much Bigger Story
Many fans of the source material bristled at Andrea’s (Laurie Holden) storyline in Season 3, as they were expecting to see her grow into her comics counterpart. But instead of her becoming the group’s sharpshooter and ending up in a relationship with Rick, Andrea wound up with the Governor — and she died in the season finale, far, far earlier in the timeline than comics-Andrea does.
Carol’s Almost Unrecognizable
If you’re a big Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride) fan, don’t read the comics expecting to see her badassery on the page. While Carol exists, she bears little resemblance beyond her name to the Terminus-exploding character viewers know and love. In the comics, she died during the prison arc by allowing a walker to consume her. Yep, seriously.
Beth’s Also Not Around
Like Daryl, Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) doesn’t exist in the source material. Her big sister Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and patriarch Hershel (Scott Wilson), however, do. As a result, plenty of the storylines involving Beth were new material, including the controversial arc at Grady Memorial Hospital in Season 5…which resulted in her death.
That Infamous Lineup Scene
It wasn’t exactly a secret that speedy survivor Glenn (Steven Yeun) wouldn’t make it past the group’s first interaction with the villainous Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), given that he’s killed via Negan’s barbed wire baseball bat, Lucille, in the comics, too. What was different is how it all went down: In the source material, Glenn is the only death in the lineup. On the show, Negan kills the battle-hardened Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) first, then Glenn, after Daryl lashes out. If Daryl had just kept quiet…
Former Savior Dwight (Austin Amelio) left The Walking Dead to join its spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, but in the source material, he sticks around for a good long while. He even makes it as far as the Commonwealth arc, which is where TWD is currently headed.
One change that ruffled many a comics fan’s feathers was Carl Grimes’ (Chandler Riggs) death in Season 8. On the show, Rick’s son dies from a walker bite, but in the source material, Carl makes it to the very end and actually outlives his father — who, by the way, doesn’t get taken by CRM before the Whisperer arc in the comics.
…and Morgan Dies
Plenty of fans anticipated Morgan Jones’ (Lennie James) tenure on the show to end in Season 8, as he would’ve been the perfect candidate to ask Rick to spare Negan’s life. Not only is Morgan still on Fear, but he’s also far outlived his comics counterpart, who didn’t even make it to the story’s battle with Negan.
The Governor, Whisperers leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) and Negan were all pulled straight from the page, but the Wolves, the Termites, and CRM, among others, never caused trouble for the survivors in the comics.
Since Daryl doesn’t exist in the source material, there’s no shipping of “Caryl” or “Donnie” (with Lauren Ridloff’s Connie) going on. And one of the show’s biggest pairings, Rick and the katana-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira) never got together in the comics, either.
Glenn and Maggie, though, are just as adorable in both mediums.
The Walking Dead, Sundays, 9/8c, AMC