From loveable rogues to heartwarming heroes, AMC’s undead adventure series has a fascinating selection of characters for audiences to get behind and root for. Fans care for The Walking Dead’s survivors just as they are designed to, but not every persona can be a hit, and not every character who gets popular can retain that adoration over multiple seasons.
Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon is The Walking Dead’s gold standard when it comes to fan favorites, and though many walker-killing warriors have risen up and challenged his spot at some point, they’ve all fallen back down in the hearts and minds of fans in the end.
8. Carol Went A Little Too Far In Her Pursuit Of Revenge
Melissa McBride’s bold, brave, and brilliant survivor has no equals when it comes to awe-inspiring Walking Dead character arcs, yet after years of building up Carol as the show’s most loveable housewife-turned-warrior, a bitter feud with Alpha threatened to undo all the fandom that Sophia’s mother had built up.
Season 10 saw Carol repeatedly put her companions in danger due to her near-blind pursuit of revenge. Of course, Daryl and friends do have Carol to thank in part for The Whisperer’s leader no longer being an antagonist in the undead series, and taking into account that Carol is perhaps the most likely persona to leave The Walking Dead as one of the living, there will be plenty of chance to bring McBride’s character back to her previous levels of adoration.
7. Rosita Started Out As A Warrior But Faded Into Little More Than A Romantic Interest Over Time
As Abraham’s fiercely loyal partner, Rosita Espinosa displayed a stubborn fearlessness that made her almost impossible to dislike. When her friends were in danger, Rosita could always be counted on to bring the pain and save lives, yet as her time on the show went on, Christian Serratos’ survivor ended up with little to do but frequently switch romantic partners.
Her poor treatment of her former lovers, coupled with the fact that fans rarely get to see Rosita do what she does best anymore, has meant that her fanfare has slowly slipped away. Season 11’s first half has granted her a few moments that turn back the clock to her bad guy bashing days, so walker fans will be crossing their fingers for more as The Walking Dead comes to an end in 2022.
6. Beta Bowed Down To Negan As Well As His Leader
While Ryan Hurst’s monstrous masked man was hardly ever adored by the fanbase of AMC’s hit horror show, he certainly had standout quality as a terrifying presence and a villain that was fun to love to hate. Beta’s battle with Daryl remains one of The Walking Dead’s most hair-raising sequences, and at that moment, it felt like few big bads in the series had ever been so darn scary.
Then Negan came along and made Beta look like little more than a lovesick fool. By the time JDM’s motor mouth and Daryl Dixon dispatched the bruting skin-wearer, Beta felt more of a nuisance than a threat. Fans were understandably disappointed that they never got to see him repeat his gutting of Gabriel from the comics.
5. Carl Took His Teenage Angst Up To Eleven
The little Grimes boy quickly saw his popularity fade away around the time he hit puberty. Filled with teenage angst and an unreasonable penchant for ignoring his dad, Carl displayed what may be argued as typical teen antics, yet they could only really be deemed typical if the world hadn’t ended when he was a child.
Armed with a Stetson far too big for his head, Chandler Riggs’ trigger-happy gunslinger almost got himself killed on multiple occasions. If there’s one way to draw the ire of The Walking Dead fans, it’s treating your life as if you’re playing a video game. Carl would redeem himself as a young adult, but his death would come unsurprisingly as a result of his own careless actions, and many viewers weren’t exactly heartbroken to see the one-eyed warrior leave the series.
4. Negan The Nice Guy Will Never Be As Captivating As The Bad Man With The Bat
Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s trash-talking rogue remains one of The Walking Dead’s most popular characters. Negan has played a huge part in filling the void left behind by his greatest enemy, Rick Grimes, yet many fans feel as though The Walking Dead has taken liberties with Negan’s character and gone too far in the name of making him a more palatable persona.
The Walking Dead’s weakest era was the 7th and 8th seasons, yet during this time, The Saviors’ leader essentially carried the show on his back. With one show-stealing performance after another, Jeffrey Dean Morgan made Negan an absolutely unforgettable villain, but in making Negan a nice guy, The Walking Dead’s creators took away some of what made him such a fan favorite in the first place.
3. Michonne Put Down Her Sword & Became A Mother
Once one of the deadliest of all post-apocalyptic adventurers, Michonne has evolved significantly from the scary swordswoman that saved Andrea in the woods. As a mother and a leader, not to mention a wife to Rick Grimes, Michonne has opened up emotionally and offered much-anticipated insight into her past.
As a result, Danai Gurira’s corpse-kicking samurai has shed her mystique, and prior to her exit from the show, Michonne had started to blend in a little too well with her fellow Alexandrians. Her sword-swinging skills may be missed by some, but like most fans, The Walking Dead has moved on from Michonne Hawthorne.
2. Gabriel Missed His Chance To Go Out Like A Hero
The perseverant priest started out his time on The Walking Dead as a cowardly, near impossible to like man of God that seemed defined only by his religious beliefs and uselessness in the fight against the undead. Over the years, Seth Gilliam’s character made great strides in terms of both his likability and his fighting skills, and he looked all set to end his time as one of the living in a most honorable and brave manner in Season 10.
Maggie saved the day, and Father Gabriel avoided his comic book fate and got to keep on living. Sadly, this has resulted in the preacher proving himself largely useless once again, and it has somewhat undone much of the work that had fans rooting for him in recent seasons.
1. Fans Simply Got Tired Of Rick Throwing His Weight Around
No matter how great the record may be, repeated listens of the same song are bound to land on tired ears eventually. Rick Grimes is The Walking Dead’s defining hero and star of the show, but he’s also a flawed man with a habit of making the same mistakes over and over again. Many audiences members had grown bored with Officer Friendly’s antics by Season 9.
It’s not surprising that Andrew Lincoln’s exit coincided with a great improvement in the quality of AMC’s horror hit. No more Rick freshened up the surroundings and allowed other characters, namely fan-favorite Daryl Dixon, to take center stage. Fans will of course welcome him back with open arms should the opportunity present itself, but it took some time away to create that longing for Rick’s return.