‘The Walking Dead’: The 15 Biggest Differences Between the Comics and the Show

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.

The Walking Dead have been walking around dead since 2003, when Robert Kirkman first created the comic book series. The trials and tribulations of Rick Grimes and his crew of human survivors have continued through 169 issues (and counting).

In 2010, AMC adapted the comic books into a television drama, which is now one of the most popular shows on any network. Kirkman himself is an executive producer and has written a handful of episodes. But even so, the series has departed in both major and minor ways from the comics.

While most of the major arcs have translated to the series (including the farm, the prison, Alexandria, the Saviours, etc.), there are prominent characters who were created from scratch for the show while other figures have either diminished or risen in importance. Some people died early, others died later, while others just died in a different manner.

The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Daryl Forever

Grungy, crossbow-toting, motorcycle-riding Daryl Dixon has become a fan favorite over the seasons. But he doesn’t even exist in the comics! The TV show writers created him from scratch, though he takes on storylines and personalities of various other characters including Tyreese, Shane, and Andrea. Generally, the TV-only characters tend to be expendable, but you can basically count on Daryl’s survival. The audience would riot if he ever died.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Hand of the King

In the comics, Rick’s hand is cut off by the Governor the first time they meet — a shocking and brutal introduction for the big bad of the prison storyline. But in the show, both of Rick’s hands are intact. There was a red herring in season 6 when his hand got cut, but it seems unlikely that the show will ever follow the comics’ lead in this instance.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

RIP Carol and Morgan

Both Carol and Morgan have become two of the show’s most capable survivors. But in the comics, both are dead. Morgan does meet back up with Rick and his group in Alexandria, but ends up getting bitten during a zombie confrontation. Michonne (a romantic interest) chops off his arm with her katana, but the infection spreads and she’s forced to kill him. As for Carol…

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Stone-Cold Carol

In the show, Carol has evolved to be a ruthless and pragmatic badass, who killed people in the prison because she thought it was for the greater good. In the comics, though, she is completely dependent on others. After a devastating breakup with Tyreese in the prison, she tries to start up a threesome with Rick and Lori. When they turn her down, she essentially commits suicide by giving herself up to walkers.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Decisive Andrea

TV Andrea died in the season 3 finale, at the end of the Woodbury storyline. But Comics Andrea was alive and well up until this past May! She was also much more of a central figure — basically, the leading lady and a decisive, capable sharp-shooter. That’s unlike TV Andrea, whose wishy-washiness turned off fans.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Baby Not on Board

It’s amazing how Judith has been able to survive all this time on the show. First, everyone needed to find formula for her. Then she was toted around all over the place, with zombies at her heels. But in the comics, Judith died in the prison with Lori. Maybe the show kept her around to raise the stakes even higher for Rick.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Where’s Beth?

Beth became an integral figure in the prison and the aftermath, when she bonded with Daryl and then was kidnapped to a hospital in Atlanta. But none of that happened in the comics — because Beth doesn’t exist in the comics. Herschel had a bunch of kids, but Beth wasn’t one of them. Only Maggie survives through the prison. It’s not too surprising that neither she, nor hospital buddy Noah (also a TV-only character) stayed alive.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Sasha’s Sacrifice

Like Beth, Sasha is another TV-only character who wound up dead. Apparently, producers liked actress Sonequa Martin-Green so much, they created a new character for her. She first showed up with brother Tyreese (who doesn’t have a sister in the comics, but a daughter) and became a pretty good sharp-shooter. Elements of her storyline were taken from the comics character of Holly, as well as other minor figures.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Sophia Lives

Carol’s daughter disappeared and turned up zombie-fied in Herschel’s barn in season 2 of the show. But in the comics, she’s still alive (through issue 169 on July 5). Sophia is adopted by Maggie and Glenn after Carol’s death. And then after Glenn’s death, she and Maggie live in the Hilltop. She and Carl also had a puppy love thing, so basically, in the show, Enid has taken on some of her storyline.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Tyreese, Lover and Fighter

In the comics, Tyreese is one of the first members of Rick’s crew and becomes a co-leader. He also strikes up several romantic relationships, first with Carol and later with Michonne. He’s eventually captured and beheaded by the Governor, a la Herschel. But in the show, Tyreese gets bitten and Michonne tries to amputate his arm, before he succumbs to death.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Love Is in the Air

The show hasn’t had too many romantic pairings, but in the comics, the characters hooked up all the time. The couplings were also different: Rick and Andrea, Tyreese and Carol, Tyreese and Michonne, Michonne and Morgan, Andrea and Dale. Richonne hasn’t happened (yet). At least OTP Glenn and Maggie were together in both the show and comics.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Denise’s Demise

In the show, Alexandrian doctor Denise became prominent for her same-sex relationship with Tara. But in the comics, she was not gay; she had a relationship with Heath. And she was a pretty minor figure. Her memorable death on the show — an arrow through the eye — was how Abraham is killed in the comics. Speaking of Abraham…

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Honest Abe

TV Abraham was a lot quippier and odd than Comics Abraham, who was more business-like and straightforward. And the latter got an arrow through his eye. On the show, he was infamously bludgeoned to death by Negan alongside Glenn. Meanwhile, his romance with Sasha was taken from a comics storyline involving Holly.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

Destination Terminus

In the show, Terminus was a nightmarish place where the cannibalistic residents lured unsuspecting victims to be slaughtered. But in the comics, it never existed. There were cannibals called “The Hunters” led by a man named Chris (Gareth in the show). The Hunters kidnap Dale (still alive at that point) and cut off his leg for dinner. Unbeknownst to them, he’d been infected with the zombie virus. On the show, Bob took Dale’s place.

(Credit: AMC)

Zombies vs. Walkers

The characters in the show never utter the word “zombie” — the undead are always called “walkers” or something else. But the comics characters do occasionally use the z-word. Kirkman has said he avoids the word because the Walking Dead universe is one in which zombie movies and fiction don’t exist.

(Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC)

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