Wаlkinɡ Deаd’s 10 Mаin Femаle Antаɡonists, Rаnked Leаst To Most Villаinous

With many of The Walking Dead franchise’s iconic villains either defeated or reformed, it’s curious to look at the main female antagonists’ motives.

Dakota and Martha from Fear The Walking Dead against a red background


  • The Walking Dead has a wide range of female antagonists who bring different shifts and challenges to the protagonists.
  • These villains often operate with a community or small group behind them, but some operate solo, showcasing their individual motivations and beliefs.
  • The actions and choices of these female antagonists, such as betrayal, manipulation, and cold decision-making, solidify their villainous status within the Walking Dead universe.

While The Walking Dead has many memorable characters, some of its female antagonists truly stand out because of their villainy. Starting the franchise off in 2010, The Walking Dead‘s first threat was the walkers. After not much time passed, human enemies became a problem for each group of protagonists. From the Governor in the main show to the Vultures in Fear The Walking Dead, there was always someone or a group to look out for.

With six shows currently in the franchise and The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live releasing on February, 25, 2024, the list of antagonists keeps growing too. Most The Walking Dead villains have a community or small group behind them, but some operate solo. Whether solo or leading, each antagonist brings a different shift to each spinoff. This can involve losing an integral character, like Glenn’s death in the flagship show, or being forced to relocate, like when Celia banished Victor Strand and his group from her compound in Fear The Walking Dead. Usually, their motivations and beliefs add to what makes them so villainous.

10 Dakota

Fear The Walking Dead, Season 6

Dakota in Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead

Dakota first appeared in Fear The Walking Dead season 6 as part of the Pioneers, led by her mother, Virginia. While she wasn’t an antagonist at first, Dakota’s choices and reactions to her surroundings quickly brought out her questionable logic. For instance, when trying to escape her group, she killed Cameron since he was going to thwart her escape plan. Similarly, she killed John Dorie to avoid word getting out that she had murdered Cameron.

Although she showed signs of remorse occasionally – like when she asked John Dorie Sr. if he really forgave her – her viewpoints solidified her as a villain. She not only betrayed Morgan and his group, but she also mentioned she believed killing John wasn’t a mistake and even tried to get Alicia to understand how easy it was to kill. Although she died by choosing to succumb to a nuclear explosion, her belief that her murderous tendencies were just a part of who she was showed she didn’t grow much and was villainous until her end.

9 Dawn Lerner

The Walking Dead, Season 5

Dawn Lerner in The Walking Dead looking to the side, ready to shoot
The Walking Dead

Dawn was first introduced in season 5 of the main show at Grady Memorial Hospital. She prioritized skill, as seen by her focus on providing medical care to a doctor simply because he was a doctor. Additionally, Dawn relied on manipulation to gain favor over those working under her. For instance, after stating Carol couldn’t be helped further when she was brought in with an injury, she secretly gave Beth keys to a medicine cabinet to help Carol.

While seemingly a kind act, this gave Beth a sense of false trust in Dawn, which later served Dawn’s self-sufficiency. For example, when a fight between Dawn and one of her officers broke out, Beth shoved the officer down an elevator shaft to protect Dawn. Her self-serving motivations behind her actions led to cold decision-making, such as when she threatened violent action unless Rick’s group gave up Noah, which ultimately led to Beth’s death.

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8 Elizabeth Kublek

The Walking Dead: World Beyond

Elizabeth with CRM soldiers, a helicopter in the background, from a scene in Walking Dead: World Beyond.

Although Elizabeth was a powerful figure in the major organization, the Civic Republic Military, which is known for its ruthlessness and cold approach to rebuilding humanity, she wasn’t as senselessly brutal as some of the other antagonists in The Walking Dead franchise. Throughout her time on World Beyond, Elizabeth showed signs of peacefulness and genuine kindness, blurring the lines between carrying out orders like destroying the Campus Colony and helping people with covert care, like Indira’s medical treatments. While she was demoted and arrested for treason by the end of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, her skewed moral compass still led to the deaths of many.

7 Jadis

The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Season 2

Much like Elizabeth, Jadis works in the CRM. Although she went from a minor antagonist to a friend in the main show, her rise in the CRM brought her self-preservation and ruthlessness to the forefront. For instance, she tested Huck’s allegiance to the CRM and ordered her to kill one of the CRM doctors, Lyla, by unleashing one of the zombified test subjects on her. Jadis also expressed agreement with the CRM’s eradication of settlements, stating the communities were too reliant on the CRM’s assistance. While still under the orders of Major General Beale, Jadis doesn’t question the atrocities of the CRM, solidifying her as an antagonist.

Jadis is expected to appear again in the upcoming spinoff The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

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6 Martha

Fear The Walking Dead, Season 4

Tonya Pinkins as Martha in Fear the Walking Dead looking dirty and disheveled.

As a main antagonist in the latter half of Fear The Walking Dead season 4, Martha’s solo mission to make people stronger, by her definition, painted her as a cynical, dangerous force. By killing anyone she deemed weak – which usually entailed people who sought help from others – Martha was a major obstacle for Morgan and his group. Not only did Martha shamelessly kill innocent people, but she let them to turn into walkers, wrote messages on their faces, and used them as weapons on other survivors trying to find supplies or help.

Her unhinged approach after losing her husband was ruthless and caused senseless deaths. Her stubbornness in accepting help, even when she had a gunshot wound, further amplified how her behavior was a product of her loss. However, because she didn’t show any signs of learning from her cruel acts, she wasn’t offered a redemptive arc to remove her villain status.

5 The Dama

The Walking Dead: Dead City

lisa emery as the dama in the walking dead dead city season 1 episode 5

Although the Dama is only revealed at the end of The Walking Dead: Dead City season 1, her influence over the Croat and her ambitions for numerous East coast settlements makes her a force to be wary of. She displays a clear authority and cunning nature as she’s able to control the Croat’s loyalty. This is evident in his bowing, kneeling, and kissing her hand.

She also exhibits a desire for domination and a knack for strategy, since she wants to use Negan as the face of her operation to protect her community’s methane source. Her manipulation and lack of limits are shown in her using Hershel as an incentive to get what she wants. Additionally, she demonstrates no qualms about hurting innocent people, as seen through her cutting off Hershel’s toe to further prove her willingness to do whatever she deems necessary to maintain control of her resources and territories.

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4 Pamela Milton

The Walking Dead, Season 11

At first, Pamela was a kind political figure leading the Commonwealth, and she visited her communities to offer asylum. However, after her son, Sebastian, died, Pamela became a power-hungry leader. For instance, she had a resident killed and forced her second-in-command, Lance Hornsby, to feed the corpse to her zombified son. She also lied to her residents in a trial against Eugene, so she could have him executed and kept her position of power. Her disregard for her community’s safety and willingness to sacrifice them to a walker herd showcased her failure as a leader, as well as her villainous streak.

3 Marion Genet

The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon

Anne Charrier as Genet in Daryl Dixon

Marion Genet’s plan while leading the main antagonist group in The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon, the Power of the Living, involves numerous walker variants. Not only is she facilitating variant zombie experiments, but she uses these as weapons to depict her movement’s power. For instance, when she had Daryl fight mutated walkers in an attempt to have him killed to win people over to her cause. Her lack of consideration for human life and tampering with the zombie virus makes her an extreme threat since she seemingly doesn’t exhibit a clear understanding of morality and plays a hand in engineering a bigger walker concern.

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2 Virginia

Fear The Walking Dead, Seasons 5 & 6

Virginia in Fear The Walking Dead aiming a gun

Like other antagonists in The Walking Dead universe, such as Elizabeth, Virginia’s ruthless motives were driven by misguided intentions to keep her group, the Pioneers, safe. However, her means of exacting results and getting what she wanted were often brutal and violent, such as when she hired a bounty hunter to kill Morgan. Despite this, her primary desire to protect her daughter Dakota led to her own demise at the hands of June because she was much more erratic when under threat.

Additionally, by covering up Dakota’s murder of Cameron, she lost loyalty from her followers, leading to her fall. While Virginia caused her own downfall, her villainy was most evident through her disregard for morality and her need to control those in her community. This was seen through her willingness for Janis to take the fall for Cameron’s death and executing her, as well as assigning roles to Morgan’s group to keep them subservient, such as Victor’s job in rallying her soldiers to follow her orders. Her manipulation and selfish motives made her a true villain as it split up Morgan’s group and put their lives in danger.

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1 Alpha

The Walking Dead, Seasons 9 & 10

One of the longer lasting villains on the list is Alpha, a threat to Alexandria and its allied communities from the second half of season 9 and through almost all of season 10. Alpha’s basic reason for her initial retaliation was to preserve the borders of her and the Whisperers’ territory. However, her true villainy was through her actions to enforce her strength. In doing so, she had one of her Whisperers leave their crying baby to be killed by walkers, tested her daughter Lydia by instructing her to kill Henry, and trapped some Alexandrians in a cave filled with walkers.

Her abusive parenting and obsession with ruthlessness as a sign of strength made her one of the more unsettling enemies in the franchise. Alpha leading the Whisperers and the numbers she could control by herding walkers gave her even more of a sinister edge. She even wanted Lydia to die so she could always be with her in the form of a walker. Like many other villains in the franchise, Alpha’s adaption to the apocalypse furthered her agenda. Ultimately, most The Walking Dead female antagonists depict the common trend of either misguided survival methods, ruthless societal advancement, or power plays that other enemies in the franchise strive for.

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