Nearing its eleventh and final season, it is difficult to imagine The Walking Dead if certain characters were never a part of the narrative. What would AMC’s smash hit apocalyptic drama have been without Rick’s leadership, Glenn’s humor, or the journey of Carol and Daryl’s timeless friendship?
One of the greatest parts of the show is the broad array of talented cast members that pour their passion and talent into the series as they tell the varied and sometimes tragic stories of the characters that they portray. That said, some of the best characters in the franchise took a little extra time to make their debut.
10 Hershel Greene (2×02)
Hershel Greene was a much-needed presence at the time of his introduction in the season 2 episode “Bloodletting.”
A veterinarian before the outbreak, his medical expertise saved Carl’s life, and often proved useful for the survivors, but even more than that was his logic and good-natured soul. In times of chaos, Hershel’s gruff but kind guidance not only calmed members of the group, but his advice pushed Rick to be a better leader – even if he had missteps along the way.
9 Maggie Greene-Rhee (2×02)
Maggie Rhee is a force to be reckoned with. Intelligent, kind, but willing to make the difficult decisions, Maggie has served as a nurse, big sister, soldier, mother, and leader throughout the past ten seasons.
The former head of Hilltop Colony, Maggie’s shrewd leadership has been an asset to the survivors in many ways, but her tension with Negan over Glenn’s death may finally take an exciting turn in The Walking Dead‘s final season.
8 Michonne (2×13)
Few characters have a more badass introduction than Michonne. Rarely seen in a battle without her signature Katana, Michonne is a confident fighter who wields her weapons with a mastery of fluidity of a true Walker-slaying warrior, and her Pets made her all the more formidable.
Aside from her skills as a survivor, Michonne is a loyal friend, a wonderful mother, and she has helped lead Alexandria after Rick’s supposed demise. Fans eagerly await her return to the series, as well as Andrew Lincoln’s.
7 The Governor (3×03)
The Governor was a terrifying and skillfully manipulative antagonist who was nearly responsible for wiping out Rick’s group, once and for all. The leader of Woodbury, his cleverness and calculated moves are matched only by his cruelty, which makes him a highly effective villain that was both fascinating and easy to hate.
Though he was heavily featured in season 3 and season 4, his backstory was only hinted at and left the audience with enough intrigue to hope to see him again in the upcoming anthology, Tales Of The Walking Dead.
6 Sasha Williams (3×08)
The Walking Dead is never short on strong female characters, and Sasha definitely fits the bill. Proving herself to be brave, loyal, and selfless, she mourned yet retained her strength despite the losses of Bob, Tyreese, and Abraham, while always remaining focused on the safety of her friends and loved ones.
In the end, Sasha willingly makes the ultimate sacrifice, and ended her own life in an effort to take out Negan, and save Alexandria from the Saviors.
5 Abraham Ford (4×10)
Heroic, gruff, and having absolutely no concept of a filter, Abraham was not only a good man determined to overcome a tragic past, but he was a regular source of much-needed comedic relief. Whether he was talking about shaving down until he was “dolphin smooth” or joking about Michonne and Rick’s sex life, Abraham always seemed to have a hilarious quip at the ready.
His last words a bold-faced taunt directed at Negan, Abraham wasn’t afraid to look evil in the face and tell him off.
4 Aaron (5×10)
Aaron is a lover and a fighter, and that’s what’s so precious about him. Known for his easy-going nature and his compassion, he is often a friend and a peacemaker first, and a fighter second.
Armed with a mace attachment to make up for his missing hand, Aaron is more than able to protect his home and his family if it becomes necessary, but he prefers to spend his time attempting to forge friendships, save survivors in need, and be the father that his daughter deserves.
3 Negan Smith (6×16)
Fans either love to hate him, or they hate to love him. Negan is a polarizing character but is undoubtedly one of the best villains in the history of The Walking Dead. Terrifyingly intelligent, manipulative, and fierce, Negan is unafraid to do his dirty work and have a couple of laughs all at the same time.
Known for being involved in some of the most horrific scenes in the series, the season 10 episode “Here’s Negan” recently revealed a softer side to the Big Bad, detailing his past before the Saviors, and his love for the real Lucille.
2 Alpha (9×09)
The leader of an animalistic, Walker-obsessed group known as The Whisperers, Alpha is far from the most likable character in the show, but she is one of the most sinister.
Devoted to the dead and the Whisperer ways to the point of being willing to sacrifice her own daughter, not only is she evil, but she is effective. The Whisperers nearly took out both Hilltop and Alexandria and may have succeeded if it wasn’t for Negan and Carol’s plan to infiltrate them and take them out.
1 Juanita “Princess” Sanchez (10×14)
In the desolate and depressing settings of The Walking Dead, it is refreshing to see some genuine joy in the world. Juanita Sanchez, AKA “Princess” is lovable, loud, and a little bit obnoxious, but her vibrant presence is very much needed in a Walker-infested wasteland.
Previously living alone for quite some time, and recently revealed to suffer from PTSD from past abuse, Princess just wants a group to call her friends and hopes to have found it with Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel.
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