Fans of the TV show should be pretty used to “TWD’s” signature brand of brutal by this point in the game. However, as we’ve already previously discussed, “The Walking Dead” comic series has often featured moments that for one reason or another weren’t able to be adapted for the small screen.
That being said, there’s a lot of untapped source material from the remaining issues of writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard’s never-ending tragedy that we’re worried might not make the cut either. Whether due to budgetary constraints, FCC concerns or taboos the comic doesn’t have to worry about, here are the 15 moments we think might be prime for adapting to TV in future seasons of the “The Walking Dead” (in chronological order)!
WARNING: The following list contains potentially disturbing images and spoilers for “The Walking Dead” TV series and comic book.
15. SHIVA EATS SAVIORS
In issue #114 of “The Walking Dead” Rick and company have their first real military engagement with Negan and the Saviors before the start of the “All Out War” story arc we’re now fast approaching in the show. Things start to look grim after it appears Andrea is thrown to her death from the Alexandrian bell tower. As Rick mourns his partner, Negan taunts him, telling them to save some tears for the next victim.
Rick believes it’s over, telling Negan to get on with the execution, but before he can do so, Jesus emerges from one of the Savior’s trenches, grabs a Savior as a human shield and begins taking a few of them out. When Negan finally intervenes, Jesus is able to use Lucille against him and holds Negan hostage long enough for Ezekiel, Shiva, and members of the Kingdom to arrive. Shiva immediately pounces, mauling several of the Saviors and scattering the rest before forcing their retreat. Considering the show has gone to great lengths to realize Shiva with practical effects and CGI, we’re sure we’ll see her enter the fray at some point, but to what degree remains to be seen.
14. HEATH’S LEG GETS BLOWN OFF
One of many blows dealt to Rick’s coalition during “All Out War” is the loss of Heath’s leg in issue #120 of “The Walking Dead.” In the previous issue, Negan tricks Rick’s group into believing he’s releasing the Savior’s hostage, Holly, who has actually been killed and allowed to turn. When the group’s doctor (and Heath’s partner), Denise, removes the bag covering Holly’s head, her reanimated corpse attacks and bites Denise.
Rick shoots her off and begins frantically searching for a weapon to amputate Denise’s arm in hopes of saving her life. As Heath tries to run and join them, Negan begins throwing grenades over Alexandria’s walls. Heath is caught in one of the blasts and has his leg blown off. While the show has dealt with characters losing limbs before, it’s also chosen to avoid doing so in Rick’s case. If Heath is going to grow into a major player on the show like he has in the comics, showing him overcoming this personal obstacle could be a great way to begin building the character up.
13. RICK GETS CRIPPLED
Issue #126 of “The Walking Dead” picks up right after Rick has tricked Negan into letting his guard down long enough for Rick to cut his throat. Rick announces the war is over and that they can either leave in peace and elect a new leader or continue to fight. Still alive, Negan viciously attacks Rick and manages to break his leg before passing out.
Choosing to have Doctor Harlan save Negan’s life (more on that in a moment) rather than properly set his leg, Rick is left permanently handicapped, requiring a cane to get around. This makes for an incredibly interesting shift for the character. No longer able to physically dominate problems, the event forces Rick more into his role as a leader and diplomat rather than a man on the front lines. While it would be fantastic to see Andrew Lincoln take Rick through this transition, it seems possible that the show isn’t quite done using Rick as an action hero.
12. NEGAN’S IMPRISONMENT
As we mentioned above, despite cutting his throat, Rick’s plan to the end war was always to spare Negan’s life and imprison him. Despite protests from those closest to him, Rick insists that this is how they show their group is better than Negan, by proving that killing isn’t the only way to be safe anymore.
When Rick finally confronts Negan at the end of issue #126, he tells him that they will thrive without him impeding their progress and that his punishment will be to rot away in jail, seeing the new world blossom in Rick’s image instead of his own. While many fans of the television show are already calling for his head, Negan being kept alive is not only a great twist to the end of the first true war Rick’s people have ever fought, but also sets up a variety of interesting stories in the future (most of which we’ll touch on later).
11. THE TIME SKIP
Immediately following the conclusion of “All Out War” in “The Walking Dead”#126, the comic picks up in issue #127 after a time jump finds our cast two years removed from the conflict. From the start, we see a much different Rick Grimes leading a now-thriving Alexandria. As we mentioned above, Rick’s injuries have left him unable to walk without a cane, but a new prosthetic arm has helped bridge the gap for him.
As we saw hinted in issue #126, Dwight has taken over leadership of the Saviors and along with the Hilltop and the Kingdom, the four communities have cleared a large safe zone, trade regularly and live in peace. While doing a similar time jump on TV would present a number of creative problems to tackle, the lunge forward breathed new life into the book and could do the same for the show. Instead of simply raising the question of what it means to truly live instead of just surviving, the post-time skip stories deal with how Rick struggles to maintain the society they’ve worked so hard to establish.
10. EUGENE AND ROSITA’S “FAMILY”
Eugene and Rosita’s relationship in the comics is pretty similar to their relationship on the show. Specifically that after Eugene reveals the truth about his background Rosita becomes extremely angry and grows cold toward him. It isn’t until Abraham cheats on her (with Holly instead of Sasha) that the pair are able to mend fences after Rosita comes to Eugene for a place to stay after moving out. After Abraham’s death, the two grow closer due to their mutual grief and it is shown that during the time jump the two eventually develop a romantic relationship.
Unfortunately, by the time we see them together, their relationship is severely strained with Eugene confiding in Rick that he believes Rosita is unhappy and expresses fear their relationship would soon end. We later learn in issue #133 that this distance was in part because Rosita had cheated on Eugene and become pregnant with another man’s child. Given that Eugene and Rosita’s relationship seems far more strained on the show, it’ll be interesting to see what Eugene would need to do to earn Rosita’s respect again.
9. CARL DEFENDS SOPHIA (WITH A SHOVEL)
In issue #131 of “The Walking Dead” a pair of bullies are introduced at the Hilltop community and we see Sophia protect a younger kid from a thrashing by the two boys. The pair return in issue #134 seeking revenge for the embarrassment. They sneak attack an unsuspecting Carl (who has moved to the Hilltop alone to train as a Blacksmith) and Sophia by striking Carl in the head with a brick as the other grabs Sophia. The bullies mock Carl as he runs off and they start beating Sophia.
Carl quickly returns with a shovel and begins brutally beating one of the two boys before turning to the other who has already started pleading for his life. Sophia watches in shock as Carl mercilessly beats on the boys, seemingly with the intention of killing them. As we discussed last time, the show has generally avoided showing violence against children, so even a modified version of this event (maybe with Enid instead of Sophia?) seems unlikely.
8. MAGGIE’S ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT
Over the next few issues, tensions are running high at the Hilltop. The parents of the two bullies are out for Carl’s blood and refuse to admit any wrongdoing on the part of their sons. Things come to a head in issue #137 when Maggie suggests the idea of relocation for the families and Gregory (who had recently been trying to challenge Maggie’s authority) inserts himself in the situation. He offers to help Maggie reach a peaceful resolution with the residents, which she happily accepts, agreeing to meet with him later to discuss things.
When she does arrive, Gregory offers her a glass of wine which he spikes with poison. When Maggie realizes what’s going on she tries to fight back, causing her to pass out on the floor. Gregory begins to gloat over her body, claiming all is right with the world again, without realizing Jesus had arrived to talk to Maggie. While last week’s episode showed Gregory is clearly toying with the idea of killing Maggie, it remains to be seen if (or when) we’ll actually see him try to act.
7. LYDIA LICKS CARL
Lydia, a character introduced in issue #133, is the daughter of Alpha, the leader of a group known as “The Whisperers.” A wild, nomadic people who wear walker skin and live off the land, The Whisperers quickly emerge as the first group of antagonists after the time skip. Carl visits Lydia while she’s being held in a cell awaiting interrogation after one of the Hilltop’s first interactions with The Whisperers and the two start developing a relationship. After proving unresponsive to talking with Maggie and Jesus, the pair allow Carl to release and monitor Lydia.
After promising to kill her if she tries to hurt anyone, Carl shows Lydia around and the two end up cuddling on a hill overlooking the Hilltop. After telling her about how he lost his eye, Lydia removes Carl’s glasses and begins touching his face before leaning in and licking the hole which she calls “Sexy.” She then asks if Carl has ever had sex and offers to show him how, to which Carl agrees. Much like the violence toward children we discussed earlier, this entry seems unlikely to make the cut considering it’s dealing with underage teens having sex.
6. HANGING GREGORY
After being imprisoned for his attempt on Maggie’s life, Gregory was publicly hung before the residents of the Hilltop as punishment in issue #141. This event ends up being particularly significant because it leads to the first serious conflict between Rick and one of his core group in long while a few issues later in “The Walking Dead” #146.
After Maggie reveals she executed Gregory, Rick loses it, screaming that she’s ignored everything he said and that she’s threatening to destroy everything they’ve built. Jesus and Dante intervene to try and calm Rick down, but he shoves them off as Maggie claims he’s snapped. When she rhetorically asks if this is lead she’s supposed to follow Rick accidentally hits her in the face before Maggie beats him to the ground explaining her reasoning for hanging Gregory. The pair immediately hug and make up after realizing how insane they’re acting, but even so, it’s hard to imagine Andrew Lincoln and Lauren Cohen coming to blows in quite the same way.
5. HEADS ON PIKES
When the Whisperers arrive to retrieve Lydia, Maggie agrees to turn her over in hopes of avoiding further conflict. Carl refuses to accept this, knowing that members of the Whisperers have sexually assaulted Lydia and follows them. He is eventually “captured” and taken into their camp by Alpha. When Rick arrives to retrieve him a few issues later, he meets with Alpha who shows him the Whisperers have control of a hoard so massive it could take out all of the settlements. She warns Rick that she has marked a border that separates their land and should Rick’s people cross it she will unleash the hoard on them.
After she asks Rick to take Lydia with him (knowing he can provide a safety for her that Alpha can’t), the three leave and reconnect with the rest of their group only to find that the border Alpha was referring to was marked with the heads of 12 of their friends and loved ones. This doesn’t seem like the kind of thing “The Walking Dead” would shy away from per se, but that seems like a lot of characters to kill off in one season finale.
4. CARL’S BACHELOR PAD
Lydia returns with Rick’s group to Alexandria, but it quickly becomes apparent she isn’t safe there. Members of the Hilltop and the Kingdom had been gathered at Alexandria for a celebratory festival before Alpha lured the 12 victims to their deaths. With dozens of members of each community left emotionally distraught by the loss, Lydia becomes an easy target for their rage. Rick decides to send her back to the Hilltop with Carl (and Andrea acting as their guide).
Upon their return, she moves in with Carl and the two continue their relationship. They grow closer together, seemingly happy for a while, but during “The Whisperer War” Lydia tells Carl that while what they have is nice and that they can continue to spend time together, she isn’t in love with him. Much like Lydia’s other appearance on this list, this one seems unlikely because of the sexual content between two minors.
3. NEGAN’S ESCAPE
After turning down a previous opportunity to escape in hopes of building trust between him and Rick, Negan takes his next out in “The Walking Dead” #152. Brandon, one of the two bullies who attacked Carl and Sophia, is humiliated after a failed attempt to attack Rick for killing his father (who had himself tried to kill Rick a few issues earlier). Seeking revenge, he steals the keys to Negan’s cell and tells him he’s there to help him escape.
When Negan asks why he’d do that, he explains his desire to travel with Negan to the Whisperers’ camp to reveal Rick’s plans to attack, believing Negan is the only one who hates Rick as much as he does. The pair sneak out among the people leaving for the Hilltop, and travel to the border by the next issue. However, Negan quickly grows tired of Brandon’s whining and kills him, revealing he has his own plans for the Whisperers.
2. ALPHA GETS DECAPITATED
Speaking of Negan’s plans, in issue #156 we see Negan join the ranks of the Whisperers despite protests from Alpha’s right-hand man, Beta, who questions Negan’s intentions. Alpha dismisses his concerns, inviting him to challenge her authority if he truly feels so strongly about it. Negan lives among the Whisperers for a time, demonstrating his strength and value to the group.
After stopping the rape of a Whisperer woman by two of her peers, Negan attempts to kill them before being stopped by Beta explaining this is a chance for the woman to prove her strength (an idea which infuriates Negan). Later, Negan has a one-on-one meeting with Alpha where they debate their individual leadership philosophies. Alpha opens up to Negan, breaking down and admitting she believes she is weak because she misses her daughter. Negan consoles her before slitting her throat and cutting her head off saying “Wait until Rick gets a look at you…” proving his desire to build trust between him and Rick.
1. GABRIEL’S DEATH
Our last entry deals with one of the most tragic causalities of “The Whisperer War,” the death of Father Gabriel in “The Walking Dead” #158. Gabriel has been assigned to lookout at a nearby water tower giving him a vantage point that allows him to see for miles. His job is to keep watch for the Whisperers and sound a horn if he sees anything suspicious.
When Gabriel arrives at his post at the conclusion of issue #157, he climbs the tower and looks through his rifle’s scope revealing an enormous herd of walkers (which is also concealing a number of Whisperers). Panicked, Gabriel opens issue #158 by asking the “Lord above” to please help him. While attempting to get down, Gabriel slips down the ladder, catching his leg in one of the rungs and snapping it. Dangling there by his broken leg, Gabriel cries out in pain only for Beta to arrive and cut open his stomach for the Walkers to feed on, leaving nothing but a husk of Father Gabriel behind.
Any moments we missed? Let us know in the comments below!