It’s not unusual for any live-screen adaptation to differ from its source material, but fans of The Walking Dead might be shocked to learn just how much the AMC show diverges from Robert Kirkman’s comic series. This is most evident when comparing certain characters’ portrayals and how they’ve been changed from their comic book counterparts.
With some characters, it’s easy to see why they would be adjusted for TV, but for the most part, there’s no real rhyme or reason behind what the series changes. Some characters are given drastically different storylines and others are even given someone else’s entirely. Some are killed off way earlier than they are in the comics while some actually live longer. For whatever reason, these Walking Dead characters are nothing like the comics.
10/10 Negan Is Even Worse In The Comics
It may be hard to believe given that Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s interpretation of Negan has done some truly awful things, but the barbed-wire-bat-swinging warlord is actually a lot worse in the comic series. The main difference is Morgan’s undeniable charisma and sense of humor that is entirely vacant from his comic book counterpart.
In the comics, Negan is incredibly vulgar and constantly spews profane obscenities that for obvious reasons couldn’t be translated to cable television. But unlike the show, comic book Negan has no nuance, he’s just a cold-blooded individual with no redeemable qualities. This is why he’s exiled in the comics; he doesn’t change and become an anti-hero like on the show.
9/10 Shane Has A Larger Role On The Show
Fans of the AMC series might be surprised to find out that Shane was only in six issues of the comics given how pivotal his character is to the early development of the show. He serves as the series’ first major villain and is meant to represent society’s decaying morality in a post-apocalyptic world.
Each version starts the same with Shane saving Lori and Carl, and even ends with Shane meeting his demise after a showdown with Rick, but AMC added so much more to the character that his death actually has an impact, unlike in the comics. Perhaps they decided to fully flesh him out because of Jon Bernthal’s stellar performance. Either way, it was a massive improvement.
8/10 Morgan Isn’t A Main Character In The Comics
In both the comics and the TV series, Morgan’s storyline starts the same. He first discovers Rick after he awakes from his coma and explains to him and the audience the rules of The Walking Dead universe. They then encounter one another years later and Morgan eventually joins Rick’s group at the Alexandria settlement.
However, in the comics, Morgan is quickly killed off when a hoard of walkers breaches the settlement’s walls. In the show, Morgan survives this attack and becomes a central character on both The Walking Dead and its spin-off Fear The Walking Dead. Morgan is essentially an original character now as he’s grown far beyond his comic book counterpart.
7/10 Judith Is Alive On The Show
Similar to Morgan, Judith is basically an original character in the TV adaptation. The only similarity between the two is that they were both born at the prison. In the comics, Judith is only alive for about a month before she is killed during the battle with the Governor. Killing a literal baby would’ve been too dark for the TV series, hence why she’s outlived her comic book counterpart.
Judith isn’t just a side character who occasionally appears either. After the show’s time jump in season nine, she becomes a main character. Much of her storyline is taken from Carl’s role in the comics and given to her, but for the most part, it works.
6/10 Sophia’s Role In The Comics Is Given To Enid
One of the biggest changes that the TV series made from the comics was killing off Sophia so early in the show’s run, especially when considering Sophia is still alive in the comics. In fact, she is the comic’s longest-surviving female character. In the show, Sophia goes missing at the start of season two and is later found in Hershel’s barn dead and zombified.
To fill Sophia’s role from the comics, the TV series created the character of Enid to take on some of her plotlines and serve as Carl’s romantic interest. Enid even develops a close relationship with Glenn and Maggie like Sophia did in the comics. Other than that, the two are completely different.
5/10 Hershel Is Kinder On The Show
For the most part, Hershel’s storyline plays out quite the same in both versions, however, when comparing their personalities, the two couldn’t be more different. On the show, Hershel is the warm moral center and even acts as a father figure for Rick and others, but in the comics, he’s cold-spirited and never fully trusts Rick.
In both versions, Hershel is extremely religious and believes he can “cure” walkers, but when Rick and the others kill the walkers in the comics, Hershel forces them to leave by pointing a gun at Rick’s head. Hershel’s characterization on the show was actually better in the show, but that could also be due to Scott Wilson’s incredible performance.
4/10 Carol Isn’t A Badass In The Comics
Apart from their shared backstory, comic book Carol and TV show Carol are completely different people. They both start out timid and weak, but that only lasts so long in the TV series whereas in the comics, that’s pretty much her entire character. She’s also killed off very early in the comic series whereas in the show she’s still alive and a central character.
Carol’s character transformation is arguably the best thing AMC changed from the comics. Instead of making her another damsel in distress, Carol becomes one of the group’s most reliable and fearless members. She changes drastically over the course of the show and evolves from her fearful self into the ultimate badass.
3/10 Michonne Is More Sensitive On The Show
Similar to Negan, AMC had to tone down much of Michonne’s brutality which she’s known for in the comics. While she’s still a badass in both mediums, her TV counterpart is much more friendly and less mysterious than she is in the comics. Also, her relationship with Rick, which is a major storyline in the show, is nonexistent in the comics.
In fact, much of her relationship with Rick is actually taken from Andrea’s comic book storyline. So instead of Andrea becoming a mother figure to Carl, it’s Michonne who assumes that role. Which is something her unemotional comic book counterpart would simply never do.
2/10 Andrea Is A Fan-Favorite In The Comics
One of the most iconic and beloved characters from the comics turned out to be one of the show’s most hated among fans. In the comics, Andrea is among the strongest and most intelligent survivors and even becomes one of the group’s key defenders. She is so vital to the story in the comics, it caught a lot of fans by surprise when the show killed her off in season three.
That being said, most fans of the TV shows disliked her character and wanted her killed off. On the show, Andrea was naive and constantly made poor decisions that put the group in danger. Out of every character, Laurie’s comic to TV adaptation is easily the most disappointing.
1/10 Tyreese’s Role In The Comics Is Given To Daryl
Most fans of The Walking Dead know that Daryl is an original character created for the show, but what some fans might be surprised to learn is that a good portion of Daryl’s character is actually taken from Tyreese. In the comics, it’s Tyreese who’s Rick’s right-hand man and co-leader, but on the show, Tyreese is demoted to a side character that barely resembles his comic book counterpart.
Since Daryl was given his role and became such a popular character, the TV show didn’t really need Tyreese, but ironically, Tyreese lived longer in the show than he did in the comics. But unlike in the comics, Tyreese’s TV death had no real impact.
NEXT: The Walking Dead: 10 Most Likable Villains, Ranked