Every Character The Walking Dead Killed Too Soon

Every Character The Walking Dead Killed Too Soon

The Walking Dead became notorious for killing off main characters over its eleven-season run, but many of them were taken long before their time. Premiering in 2010, The Walking Dead quickly became one of the most popular shows on television, thanks to its realistic depiction of life in the zombie apocalypse. While the series followed the particular story of Rick Grimes, portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, and his family, the ensemble cast featured several other main characters, all of whom ran the risk of being next on the chopping block.


Despite the series being based on Robert Kirkman’s smash-hit graphic novel series of the same name, AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead made many changes to the story, including featuring the deaths of many characters who survived for much longer in the comics. This meant that fans were always kept on their toes, never truly knowing who would die next, which was one of the things that kept the series so exciting throughout its long duration. While many were glad to see the back of some characters on The Walking Dead, others were devastatingly taken too soon.

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Dale Horvath

Jeffrey DeMunn portrayed Dale Horvath from The Walking Dead’s first season until his demise towards the end of season 2. Dale was a fan-favorite character, acting as the wise father figure of the original Atlanta camp, which meant that he often came to blows with the headstrong Shane (Jon Bernthal), and found himself in a tumultuous friendship with Andrea (Laurie Holden). While Dale’s death marked a significant shift in morality for The Walking Dead and informed several decisions for the group going forward, many felt that the character had more to give.

In the comics, Dale survives much longer, so his death in The Walking Dead came as a shock to many. While creator Robert Kirkman originally stated that it had been his decision to drop Jeffrey DeMunn from The Walking Dead cast, one that had been an incredibly hard choice, DeMunn later revealed that he left of his own volition after series developer Frank Darabont was fired from AMC. DeMunn had become close to Darabont after featuring in several of his other projects, and was furious at his controversial firing, which led to Dale’s time on The Walking Dead being cut short.

Merle Dixon

merle killed in the walking dead

AMC had a huge amount of opportunity with the characters of Daryl and Merle Dixon on The Walking Dead, since neither of them appeared in the comics as both were created solely for the series. While Daryl went on to have a long career on the series and is even getting his own spinoff which will see him travel to France, his brother, Merle, saw his time on the show cut short as The Walking Dead season 3 was coming to an end. Many felt that Michael Rooker was wasted on The Walking Dead, and were disappointed at the prospect of Merle’s redemption arc being ignored.

While previously being seen as a villain, particularly when working in Woodbury as the Governor’s (David Morrissey) right-hand-man, the few episodes before Merle’s death saw him start on his journey of redemption, setting out on a solo mission to take down the Governor which ended in his eventual demise. His death started a remarkable transformation in The Walking Dead’s Daryl, pushing the formerly rough character to become the much-loved addition to the cast that he became. Daryl’s reaction to his brother’s death was heartbreaking, but Merle simply didn’t need to die so soon considering his possible redemption.

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andrea killed in the walking dead

Laurie Holden portrayed Andrea until the character’s death in The Walking Dead season 3 finale, marking one of the biggest departures from the comic source material, since Andrea survived for years after the Governor storyline in the comics. In fact, the comics saw Andrea marry none other than Rick Grimes, not Michonne (Danai Gurira) after the former character’s death. Andrea’s death came as a huge shock to both audiences and the cast alike, as nobody found out about her upcoming demise until a few days before shooting began for the season finale.

Fans of the graphic novels were devastated at Andrea’s death in The Walking Dead, particularly because some of the biggest storylines in the comics featured the character front-and-center. However, her death in the show marked an important point for the series’ creators, ramming home the idea that nobody is safe, no matter how long they survived in the comics. Laurie Holden’s performance as Andrea in The Walking Dead was initially well-received, and her death in season 3 was incredibly polarizing, with many feeling as though the character had much more to give.

Hershel Greene

hershel killed in the walking dead

Several significant changes were made to the character of Hershel Greene when adapting the comic source material for the screen, with the legendary Scott Wilson bringing some incredible new layers to the character. He quickly became a fan-favorite character, particularly after the barn fiasco in the season 2 mid-season finale, which opened Hershel’s eyes to the truth about walkers. Initially, Hershel was supposed to die at the hands of Randall (Michael Zegen) in The Walking Dead season 2, but producers decided to keep the character alive through season 3 and half of season 4, with his popularity only growing in those seasons.

This all meant that, when the time eventually came for Hershel to die, it was all the more heartbreaking. The Governor killed Hershel in The Walking Dead season 4, taking Michonne’s sword to the beloved character’s neck after renouncing Rick’s idea that they could all live together at the prison. This almost mirrored the character’s death in the comics, as that version is also killed by the Governor during his attack on the prison. Hershel’s death also marked the end of a peaceful life in the prison, but while it was a significant moment in the show, many wanted the character to stick around a lot longer.

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Tyreese Williams

tyreese killed in the walking dead

Interestingly, Hershel’s death on The Walking Dead was actually a direct adaptation of Tyreese’s death in the comics, since the character, portrayed by Chad L. Coleman in the series, is decapitated by the Governor, and finally put down by Michonne. Tyreese survived a lot longer on the series than his comic counterpart, which allowed for much greater development of the character, and he arguably received one of the most beautiful, and shocking, death episodes in The Walking Dead’s history. Despite a whole episode being dedicated to his death, Tyreese leaving The Walking Dead was still a surprise to many.

The Walking Dead’s season 5 mid-season premiere saw Tyreese bitten by the reanimated corpse of one of Noah’s (Tyler James Williams) brothers, with the episode exploring his decline as the infection took hold. Tyreese had experienced some incredibly emotional moments during his time on The Walking Dead, most notably the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Karen (Melissa Ponzio), who was killed and burned in Carol’s attempt to stop a virus from spreading. So while many felt that Tyreese still had more to give, and wanted to see the character end up happy, Coleman certainly got to display his acting chops in the role.

Abraham Ford

abraham killed in the walking dead

Michael Cudlitz received critical acclaim for his portrayal of military-man Abraham Ford from The Walking Dead season 4 to season 7, and while his on-screen death came at a similar point as the comics, it still came as a shock to many. While Abraham in The Walking Dead series fell victim to Negan’s bat, Lucille, his comic counterpart was killed by Dwight with an arrow to the head, in a similar fashion to the way he killed Denise (Merritt Wever) in The Walking Dead season 6. Nobody thought that Abraham would be one of Negan’s victims after the season 6 finale, which devastated fans.

Before his death, Abraham had started a romantic relationship with Tyreese’s sister, Sasha (Sonequa Martin Green), and had even discussed the possibility of having children with her, so his death had added weight. The Walking Dead season 6 finale kept fans guessing for months before the premiere of season 7, keeping Negan’s victims a mystery before revealing them to be Abraham and Glenn (Steven Yeun). While many saw Glenn’s death coming, as this is exactly where it happens in the comics, there was shock over Abraham’s death, since the character had a whole future planned with his new love.

Related: How The Walking Dead Was Supposed To Kill Off Abraham (& Why It Changed)

Carl Grimes

carl killed in the walking dead

The end of Chandler Riggs’ career on The Walking Dead marked potentially the biggest diversion from the source material in the history of the series. Carl Grimes, the son of protagonist Rick Grimes, survived to the very final issue of the comic series, with the end of the story focusing on his life 25 years after the death of his father. This became an impossible prospect after Carl died during The Walking Dead season 8, being taken down by a single walker bite while trying to save Siddiq (Avi Nash) in the woods.

Nobody expected Carl to die during the series, so his season 8 death was perhaps the most controversial in The Walking Dead’s entire run. Many storylines featuring Carl in the comics were gifted to other characters after Riggs departed the series, including Henry’s (Matt Lintz) blacksmith apprenticeship at the Hilltop, and the attack on Lydia by a group of teenagers not long after. Many felt that Judith Grimes (Cailey Fleming) would take over most of Carl’s role, but this never really came to fruition either. Carl’s death continued to polarize viewers until The Walking Dead’s series finale, proving that not every creative choice is the right one.

Paul “Jesus” Rovia

jesus killed in the walking dead

Tom Payne hit the jackpot with the role of Paul “Jesus” Rovia, as the TV version of the character had a much larger role than his comic counterpart, seeing action from The Walking Dead season 6 until his death at the hands of the Whisperers in season 9. Jesus didn’t die in The Walking Dead comics, instead entering into a romantic relationship with Aaron, portrayed by Ross Marquand in the series, which was teased on TV but never came to fruition. His season 9 death was a huge shock to audiences, particularly as he had become a fan-favorite character, and had only recently seen huge character developments.

Only a matter of episodes prior to his death, Jesus had found himself becoming the elected leader of The Walking Dead’s Hilltop Colony and had started to develop a budding relationship with Aaron, so many felt as though this was only the beginning of his story. Jesus’ death in the season 9 mid-season finale marked the beginning of the Whisperer storyline, and proved how much of a threat they could be to the main group of survivors, so it served its purpose. Even so, many felt as though Jesus’ storyline was cut far too short, and he certainly deserved more development.

Related: The Walking Dead’s Negan Kill Recreates Jesus’ Death


siddiq killed in the walking dead

Despite not being a major character in The Walking Dead comics, Siddiq was being built up to be a central part of the survivors’ groups in the series, after his introduction in season 8. After being saved by Carl, leading to his shocking death, it was thought that Siddiq would become a major character in the story, but this never actually happened. Instead, Siddiq met his demise at the hands of the Whisperer spy, Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas), after spending the previous several episodes recovering from the events of Alpha’s attack at the Kingdom’s fair.

Avi Nash should have had a much larger role in The Walking Dead in order to carry on Carl’s legacy in the series since the young hero died while saving Siddiq. Instead, Siddiq’s death marked an insult against Carl’s sacrifice, as although Carl dying carries weight for the people of Alexandria, and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in particular, Siddiq’s death ensured that everybody knows that it doesn’t really matter who you save. It was a shame to leave such a rich character such as Siddiq, especially in the heartbreaking circumstances that were shown.

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