10 Walking Dead Characters Who Were Supposed To Die Earlier Than They Did – News Today

10 Walking Dead Characters Who Were Supposed To Die Earlier Than They Did

While Walking Dead fans are no strangers to losing characters, some characters lived longer than originally intended. Plus, some are even still alive.

Custom image of unknown character silhouettes and Daryl, Rick, and Carol from The Walking Dead


  • The Walking Dead franchise has deviated from the source material in numerous ways, such as altering original stories, deaths, and character arcs.
  • The TV franchise’s separate storytelling has sometimes allowed characters to live longer than their comic counterparts, providing more development opportunities.
  • Characters like Hershel, Beth, Rosita, Gabriel, Morgan, Daryl, Carol, and Rick have seen changes to their originally planned deaths, leading to more impactful storylines and character growth.

Throughout the 14 years that The Walking Dead TV franchise has been airing, there have been numerous characters that have come and gone, but some lived longer than they were originally meant to. There were Walking Dead actors who got cast in different roles than they auditioned for, which indicated the parent show isn’t afraid to deviate from the original plans. This extended to instances where the franchise’s shows altered original stories, deaths, or character arcs as they felt fit, such as the darker Axel serial killer plotline during the prison era in The Walking Dead.

Nonetheless, The Walking Dead‘s most heartbreaking deaths in the franchise were sometimes unavoidable because of the apocalyptic setting. Although the shows didn’t provide a replica of the comics, there’s a wealth of inspiration to draw from in the source material that did make the cut, such as Carl’s eye patch and the natural progression of major conflicts. Aside from some changes that led to comic characters dying much sooner, like Carl and Sophia, the TV franchise’s separate storytelling sometimes helped keep characters around for longer, sometimes for the better.

Most haunting deaths in The Walking Dead
10 Walking Dead Characters Whose Deaths Still Haunt Us After All These Years

Throughout its 11-season run, The Walking Dead killed off many characters, yet there are some haunting deaths that the audience couldn’t forget.

10 Jimmy

Originally meant to die in season 2, episode 11, but died in episode 13

jimmy in the walking dead season 2

Jimmy’s death was not too far off the original plan for him as he died two episodes after he was meant to. Originally, he was meant to be seen already zombified in “Judge, Jury, Executioner” (via Uproxx). However, The Walking Dead replaced a zombified Jimmy with a dead cow, which Dale saw when looking out at a field in this episode. Most notably, his final moments involved helping Rick and Carl by parking Dale’s RV by the barn for them to hop onto it and avoid the walkers. Sadly, he was devoured by walkers in the RV, making his action to save Rick and Carl his last.

9 Shane Walsh

Originally meant to die in season 1, but died in season 2, episode 12

Shane was around for almost two full seasons and was one of the few main show characters seen before the outbreak started. In the penultimate episode of season 2, Rick killed him and Carl shot his reanimated corpse. While he had complexity, his downward spiral after killing Otis and constant clashing with Rick set him up as a primary antagonist for season 2.

Shane’s attempt on Rick’s life meant his death was inevitable. However, given that season 1 was shorter than usual with only six episodes, there wasn’t space to kill him off the same way as the comic series creator and executive producer for the show, Robert Kirkman, had planned. Had season 1 had more room for additional story beats, Shane’s death would’ve been sooner and potentially at the hands of Carl, since the comic story had him trying to kill Rick before the group reached Hershel’s farm.

8 Hershel Greene

Originally meant to die in season 2, but died in season 4, episode 8

Scott Wilson as Hershel in The Walking Dead

Hershel’s influence was a staple quality for Rick’s group in the earlier seasons of The Walking Dead. Therefore, audiences may have felt that Hershel was one of The Walking Dead‘s characters that was killed too soon. Interestingly, he was meant to die sooner – in season 2 when Shane died – but the producers felt that it was too much loss for one season’s end, so Hershel lived on until the middle of season 4.

Moreover, his death at the hands of the Governor was much more impactful than if he had been killed by Randall in season 2, as originally planned. By the time he died, Hershel had been a source of wisdom for Rick, guiding his philosophy away from senseless violence and acting as a reminder of why building a better future was important, namely for family. Removing such a beloved character in a violent beheading added to the fragility of life on the show, which has been a common thread across the franchise.

7 Beth Greene

Originally meant to die in season 3, but died in season 5, episode 8

Beth Greene in a hospital in The Walking Dead.

Beth was another character whose death was heartbreaking as it happened so suddenly. In season 5, after being at Grady Memorial Hospital for a while, Beth was shot by the hospital group’s leader, Dawn, accidentally. Since this occurred during a trade for Beth and Carol, it was a shock and probably avoidable. The accidental nature of the death also added to why it was such a heavy loss.

Although Beth’s death was upsetting, perhaps its more lackluster approach was to soften the original plan’s more gruesome nature. Lew Temple, who played Axel, a short-lived villain in season 3, shared that his character originally had more of an arc that included Axel slaughtering Beth in the woods (via Cinemablend). This would’ve robbed fans of some of the more memorable Beth moments where she really started to develop, such as her friendship with Daryl and her survival skills improving throughout season 4.

6 Rosita Espinosa

Died during the Whisperer War in the comics, but only died in the flagship show’s series finale

rosita espinosa young old walking dead

Rosita’s character growth was exponential from her first appearance to her last. First introduced in the latter half of season 4, Rosita was more of a background character. Her learned medical skills, water filtration knowledge, and fish-cleaning know-how established her as useful to the group by mid-season 5 when Glenn told her she could stay with Rick’s group.

However, as the seasons progressed, she became much more of a true fighter and established a family with Gabriel and her daughter Coco. She succumbed to a walker bite in the series finale, but was at peace because of her family’s safety. Conversely, in the comics, Rosita was beheaded by Alpha as part of the initiation of the Whisperer War, all while pregnant. The show’s change ultimately gave Rosita more of a happy ending with input from her actress, Christian Serratos.

The Walking Dead characters.


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5 Gabriel Stokes

Died during the Whisperer War in the comics, but is currently still alive

Gabriel in The Walking Dead season 11 part 2

As another casualty of the Whisperer War in the comics, Gabriel was originally meant to have a much more violent end. Gabriel’s comic counterpart’s death occurred after he spotted a group of walkers while on lookout and struggled to climb down the watchtower, his leg getting caught and badly injured in the process. As he dangled upside-down, Beta sliced his abdomen vertically and left his insides spilling out. His final breath happened as walkers devoured him.

Luckily, AMC’s The Walking Dead gave Gabriel redemption and a much more hopeful ending as he’s still alive by the end of the series and able to continue to raise Coco. Moreover, with Gabriel’s ties to Jadis, who will be a major character in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, his story may not be entirely over in the franchise. Keeping him alive leaves the door open to explore the sudden end to his and Jadis’ relationship and how it impacted her, especially since she claimed his last name after leaving him.

Rick Grimes Looking Up In The Walking Dead
Rick Grimes’ Spinoff Can Finally Redeem A Walking Dead Villain You Thought Was Too Far Gone

The much-anticipated Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live promises to address Rick Grimes’ time at the CRM. In doing so, one villain can be redeemed.

4 Morgan Jones

Would’ve died around season 6 according to the comics, but is currently still alive

Morgan, a day-one character, was very sparsely present in The Walking Dead. However, in the comics, he died very early, unlike Lennie James’ character, who is still alive by the end of Fear The Walking Dead. If following the comics, Morgan would’ve died around season 6 of the main show after a walker bit his arm and Michonne chopped it off, leading to major blood loss. Instead, Morgan left the main show in season 8 to join the Fear The Walking Dead cast as a series regular.

Had Morgan been killed off, he wouldn’t have gotten the closure about his son Duane’s death that he got in season 8 of Fear when he revisited King County. He also wouldn’t have gotten a second chance at family with Grace and Mo. Moreover, the implied Rick Grimes and Morgan reunion when he exited Fear, announcing he was returning to Alexandria to find Rick, wouldn’t have the opportunity to happen. Keeping Morgan alive allowed more storylines centered around his philosophy of life’s preciousness, but also gave him a much more satisfying supposed ending.

3 Daryl Dixon

Originally was going to exit the series in season 11, but is currently still alive and in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon On The Beach In The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon Season 1 Finale

As an AMC creation, one might think Daryl wouldn’t even be considered to be killed off. His death would’ve been a major disadvantage for the franchise because he became a core fan-favorite. Maggie’s Lauren Cohan shared that the main show’s plan originally had four more years scheduled beyond season 11, which would’ve resulted in Daryl’s exit from the franchise. While this doesn’t confirm he would’ve left by death, it’s plausible since there were no plans for his spinoff at the time.

Luckily, the franchise’s plan to shift main characters into spinoffs paved the way for Daryl to start a new story in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon. Not only did this give his character space to explore new storylines and develop new relationships, but it also helped expand the franchise’s scope beyond America, since Daryl Dixon‘s setting is in France. Moreover, since Daryl’s spinoff has no ties to any source material, the potential is unlimited for where The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 2 can go, especially with Carol joining the cast.

2 Carol Peletier

Originally meant to die in season 3, but is currently still alive

Melissa McBride as Carol in The Walking Dead Daryl Dixon season 1 finale

Despite the popularity of Carol’s character now, her death was originally meant to be more in line with the comics and even would’ve resulted in another character living longer. Executive producer and director Greg Nicotero shared that T-Dog died in Carol’s place in season 3 because, at the time, “there was some concern in the writers’ room that they didn’t know where to take [Carol’s] character” (via SFX). T-Dog got bitten while trying to chain a fence shut, then sacrificed himself so Carol could live.

Carol, in the comics, was bitten by a walker kept by Rick’s group for observation. She allowed this to happen after voicing her feelings of displacement and her struggle to fit in. While this echoes later elements of her story arcs, particularly when she went from ruthless to a more passive guilt-ridden state, it would’ve denied her the chance to develop more. With The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon season 2’s “The Book of Carol” subtitle, it’s expected Carol’s character will continue to develop even more in her search for Daryl.

1 Rick Grimes

Originally meant to die in season 8, but is currently still alive

While many fans believed Rick to be dead during one of The Walking Dead‘s death fake-outs in his final episode in season 9, Andrew Lincoln revealed Rick’s real demise may have occurred sooner than his exit. Lincoln shared that there were “many iterations” of Rick’s death, some set in season 8 and some in his final episode in season 9 (via THR). Even though the originally planned Rick Grimes movies didn’t come to fruition after keeping the character alive, Rick’s story will finally continue after six years since his departure in the CRM helicopter.

Rick and Michonne’s return in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is a testament to how popular characters with complex stories can grow far beyond the original plans scoped out for them. With Rick, his journey from Officer Friendly to ruthless walker slayer to self-sacrificing leader and now CRM consignee articulates how drastically characters in The Walking Dead can expand. Thankfully, characters like him and Carol got the breathing room they deserved to explore new franchise stories.

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