The Walking Dead: The 10 Biggest Deviations From The Comic Book Source Material
The recently ended and soon to end Walking Dead comics and TV series are both smash hits, but in what ways does the series differ from the source?
With news of The Walking Dead ceasing production after a lengthy upcoming final season, now’s the time to examine the many divergences the show has taken in comparison to its comic book source material. The comic itself called it a day in 2019 after a lengthy run, which has left the show with very little source material to play off of in the future.
Fans of the comic know that the TV show has followed the same basic timeline, but with drastic differences sprinkled about the story. It’s time to take a microscope to both universes and identify the forks in the road between the TV and comic representations of The Walking Dead.
10 Carl Grimes
Rick Grimes’ son Carl followed a fairly accurate character progression throughout the TV show in comparison to the comic, right up to his initial confrontation with Negan. However, it wouldn’t be long before things took a turn for the worst. He suffered a walker bite while attempting to save another human being, and his sacrifice fueled a change of heart in how Rick would deal with the Saviors.
By comparison, the comic book Carl survived and went on to build a friendship with Negan while getting a girlfriend, becoming a blacksmith, and continuing to fight the walker (and human) menace. His death in the show was hard for comic book fans, but it gave the series a much-needed message that would reverberate throughout the rest of the season.
9 The Death Of Andrea
Andrea was part of the original Walking Dead crew of survivors who banded together under Rick’s leadership and managed to survive a series of constant threats. Her character was stubborn, opinionated and at times reckless, but it mirrored the trauma she had faced, especially after the loss of her sister.
The character died late into season 3 due to the Governor’s machinations, but the comic book version saw her soldiering on well past that encounter. She even settled down with Rick and become his lover – a role given to Michonne in the TV series.
8 A Much Different Carol
Both versions of Carol are women suffering from an unbearable amount of anguish and depression who find it difficult to live in a post-apocalypse world. However, the characters’ paths diverge significantly beyond that, with comic book Carol never really living up to her true potential.
She dies early on in the series after her mental fragility overwhelms her, but her TV show counterpart soldiers on as best she can while becoming hardened to the world around her. It doesn’t seem like Carol will be checking out anytime soon, especially given the announcement of a spin-off series based on her character, but it’s a wonder how she’s lasted this long.
7 Dale’s Misfortune
Dale was a fan favorite who didn’t last past season 2, and that’s a shame given the arc his character would have gone through, especially after taking the comic book storylines into account. There, Dale picks up not one, but two individual character arcs handed off to different characters in the TV show.
He ends up losing not just one, but both legs following two separate zombie attacks that force the group to amputate the first, while the other is devoured by a group of cannibals. This mimics the TV show where Hershel’s leg is amputated, and Bob’s is eaten by the cannibals in the famous “tainted meat” scene.
6 Lori & Judith
One of the darkest and most disturbing plot lines of the comic book series involves Rick’s wife Lori who was impregnated by Shane after she mistakenly believed Rick was dead. This mimics the TV show, but their paths diverge quickly thereafter.
In the TV show, Lori dies while giving birth to Judith, who goes on to grow up and become a member of the community. In the comics however, both Judith and Lori perish at the hands of the Governor who orders Lilly Caul to shoot the latter, who falls down and crushes the former to death.
5 Rick’s Hand
In the comics, Rick Grimes loses a hand to the Governor during an altercation, and it has drastic consequences for his character throughout the rest of the series. This mutilation is referenced several times in the TV show, though it never comes to fruition.
In the TV series, Negan makes the threat to cut a hand off several times, notably towards Carl. The character of Aaron ends up being the one to lose his hand after an horrific construction accident, prompting him to affix a series of weapons onto the stump to deal with walkers and other threats.
4 Daryl Dixon
Walking Dead comic book fans know that Daryl Dixon never existed in that particular medium, but that didn’t stop the TV showrunners from introducing his character early on in the very first season. Since then, he’s gone on to become second only to Rick in terms of overall popularity.
Daryl started out as a bigoted bad guy who soon had a change of heart after surrounding himself with good people who ended up softening him long enough for him to realize the error of his ways. He continues to be a vital part of the world the survivors have built, and has participated in every major conflict since the beginning of the show. How things play out for his character in the spin-off series remains to be seen.
3 Alpha’s Victims
A pivotal scene in the TV show focused on the Whisperers who, after an initial battle with the survivors, had managed to establish an uneasy truce involving a clearly separated border between the two “kingdoms.” When the survivors violated this border (with a little pushing from the Whisperers), the villainous Alpha reacted by sending a strong, horrifying message that they were not to be trifled with.
She beheaded several characters and stuck their heads on spikes at the border to indicate the punishment for violating Whisperer rules. However, the TV show and comic books depict a completely different set of victims, with Tammy Rose being the only one who died in both instances.
2 Morgan Jones
Morgan served as a major character in the TV show, especially in relation to Rick. Their characters would crisscross over each other, with one mentally unstable and the other attempting to court him back to normalcy, only for the script to flip later on in the show. Morgan would eventually survive the war between the Survivors and the Saviors long enough to head out on his own and become a series regular on the spin-off series Fear The Walking Dead.
By contrast, the comic book version of Morgan takes on a different path. Though haunted by the deaths of his family, he enters into a relationship with Michonne before being tragically bitten by walkers. Michonne cuts his arm off to contain the spread of the virus through his body, inadvertently causing him severe blood loss that led to his death.
1 Dwight’s Absence
Dwight is one of the most universally hated characters on the Walking Dead TV show, having directly or indirectly caused the deaths of several major characters before he eventually grew to loathe himself and switch sides. His machinations aided in the downfall of Negan and the defeat of the Saviors, at which point Daryl allowed him to go into exile rather than slay him outright.
The character would eventually wind up on Fear The Walking Dead, but his comic book character would remain with the Survivors and pledge loyalty to the group – at least until his lack of appreciation for Rick’s leadership caused him to fumble.