Adaptation from print to live action often results in changes. Sometimes those changes happen because elements in the source don’t translate well to the new, faster-paced medium. Other times, it’s a creative choice from the new creatives such as the screenwriters, directors, or the producers.
Needless to say, it is rare that any given adaptation will be exactly like the source material. In the case of The Walking Dead, there’s been some pretty clear changes between the comic and the TV show. Specifically, there have been significant changes in terms of which characters make it from the page to the screen. Below is a list of some of the most interesting characters that never made it from The Walking Dead comic to the hit AMC TV show.
In the comics, Julie first appeared alongside her father Tyreese and boyfriend Chris in “Volume 2: Miles Behind Us.” The most interesting thing about Julie’s storyline is unfortunately her tragic suicide, and its reveal that people become zombies even if they are not bitten or scratched. After moving into the prison after being taken in by Rick’s group, Julie makes a suicide pact with her boyfriend Chris. After having sex for the first time, Julie and Chris make plans to shoot each other at the same time. However, Chris’ gun goes off before hers and kills Julie before she can kill him. Tyreese discovers the situation and is almost killed by Julie in her zombie form. Chris, however, shoots her again. Tyreese then murders Chris and puts him down when he returns as a zombie. In the TV show, Tyreese doesn’t have any children and instead travels with his younger sister named Sasha.
Ben & Billy
Ben and Billy are twin sons of Allen and Donna, who eventually become makeshift adoptees of Dale and Andrea after Allen and Donna are killed. Ben and Billy make their first appearance in “The Walking Dead Issue #2.” Ben kills Billy under the guise that he will be reanimated. Ben is also somewhat characterized as a psychopath, often seen torturing or teasing animals and other kids. The group locks Ben up, unsure of what to do with him. Eventually, Carl sneaks into the van where he’s held and executes him.
Though the characters themselves didn’t make it into the TV show, their storyline manifested in a similar incident between Carol, Lizzie, and Mika. Lizzie is the foil of Ben, who kills Mika because she believes that nobody really dies anymore. She is also characterized as mentally unstable because of her fondness for zombies. Carol, however, kills Lizzie to prevent her from being a future danger to anyone after she discovers her hovering over Mika’s body, waiting to see if she turns into a zombie.
Thomas was a particularly nasty character that first appeared “The Walking Dead Issue 13” as part of the remaining prisoners inside the prison. Thomas initially passed himself off as a well-mannered shy guy who was only imprisoned because of tax evasion. It is quickly revealed however that Thomas is a murderous psychopath. He decapitates Susie and Rachel Greene and almost kills Andrea before he is finally captured and practically beaten to death by Rick. The group planned to hang Thomas but Maggie eventually kills him, saving a naïve Patricia in the process.
You could say that Thomas manifests in the TV show as the vile Tomas, who antagonizes Rick and the others until he is eventually killed by Rick. However, Tomas is a short lived antagonist and doesn’t really capture the same theme of being just as, or even more dangerous, than the walkers.
Douglas first appears in “The Walking Dead Issue 70” and is leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone when Rick’s group first arrives. Douglas is characterized as a womanizer, who often placed women in higher positions to get the chance to hit on them. What makes it worse is that Douglas is married. Douglas sets his sights on Andrea above all other options, but she rejects him. Douglas gets into conflicts with Rick occasionally over his womanizing, but is otherwise characterized as a pretty capable leader. Douglas is unfortunately killed when the zombies crowd into the safe-zone. Douglas had initially planned to commit suicide, but instead heads outside and fires off shots until he is eventually killed. One of those shots hits Carl in the eye and nearly kills him.
As fans of the TV show know, the congressman and leader of Alexandria is changed into Deanna Monroe. Deanna is portrayed as mostly without fault, her worst characteristic being that she is unprepared for the harsh reality of the world. Deanna, however, does become depressed and dies in the same manner, throwing herself into killing a herd before they devour her. Her son Spencer puts her zombie form down later with the help of Michonne, after discovering her wandering in the forest.
Chris the Cannibal
Besides the obvious name change, Chris is very similar to the character of Gareth in the TV show. Chris appears in the comics for the first time in “The Walking Dead Issue 63” as member of The Hunters cannibal group that is stalking Rick’s group for food. Chris is eventually captured and killed by Rick and the others for what he and The Hunters did to Dale.
Gareth’s character is expanded largely in the TV show, as he and the other members of Terminus actually manage to capture Rick and few members of their group. The group escapes and eventually kills Gareth at the church for trying to capture them after they escaped. Gareth has several interesting lines of dialogue that point to him having a deeper thematic purpose. The theme is one that criticizes the loss of humanity as a result of focusing too much on survival.
Gabriel is probably a classic case of how a character may not translate well to the live-action medium. Making his first appearance in Issue 27, Gabriel’s main storyline is serving as the Governor’s lackey from the time Rick’s group arrives at Woodbury until their subsequent face off at the prison. Gabriel does little beyond create problems for members of Rick’s group, and thus would likely be seen as unnecessary when you consider the deviations made with Andrea and Michonne’s initial presence in Woodbury.
Gabriel Harris is, however, purposeful in the comics because of how he instigates conflict between the groups, and is representative of the somewhat innocent bystanders that get exploited by leaders in this post-apocalyptic environment.
Lilly Caul’s character is very different from the Lilly Chambler character that appears in the TV show. Though they’re both a part of the Woodbury community, Caul’s character is much more expanded in the comic and plays an active role in the dynamic of the Woodbury community. Caul serves as the leader of Woodbury while the Governor is in a coma, and ultimately is the killer of Lori and Judith. Angry about being forced to raid the prison, Caul winds up killing the Governor and becomes the new leader of the survivors of Woodbury. Given her new status as a leader, Caul could potentially be an interesting character to revisit in either the TV show or the spinoff show Fear the Walking Dead.
Lydia is a new character that first made an appearance in “The Walking Dead Issue 133.” She’s one of the youngest members of the Whisperers Group that attacks Jesus and his group. She is eventually taken prisoner in Hilltop, where she starts a relationship with Carl. Though she’s definitely interesting in her potential to form a romance with a quickly growing Carl in the TV show, it would seem her storyline will have to be somewhat adjusted for deviations that show has already taken with staying in Alexandria. What makes Lydia’s character most interesting however is how she’s treated in the Whisperers Group, especially by the leader Alpha (who also happens to be her mother).
One of the most exciting characters that should definitely translate into the TV show is Alpha, the leader of The Whisperers. She first appears in “The Walking Dead Issue 132” and is a cold and harsh leader, even going to the lengths of letting her daughter Lydia be raped in order to maintain her leadership. Based on one of her conversations with Rick, she is also someone who is willing to quickly murder Rick’s group if necessary. Given her brutality, she’d certainly be a candidate for a very sinister TV character.
Rounding off the new characters that still have the potential to appear is Magna, who unlike Alpha, seems to be a good person if a bit mistrusting. In the comics, she first appears in “The Walking Dead Issue 127” and decides to join Rick’s militia against The Whisperers when a member of her group is killed by one of them.
The way in which Magna foils Rick’s group when they first arrived to Alexandria—believing the place to be too good to be true—could provide a great source of internal conflict for TV show Rick, since they’ve just had to deal with learning to trust people and have hope again. That is to say, Magna would be a great representation of either how much Rick has changed, or how much he’s still hardened by life on the road.
About the Creator
New York based freelance writer and story master at the 8-Player Pictures film company. You can find her blogging about anime, video games, and life philosophies on findtaraedwards.wordpress.com or tweet her @findtaraedwards.