The Walking Dead 5 most significant character transformations

Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 24 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Walking Dead series completed its eleven-season, 12-year, 177-episode run in November 2022. Throughout the series, there have been numerous characters who have been transformed by their experiences in the apocalypse. But only a select few made it to the finale. Which characters were most changed by the series finale?

In 2010, when The Walking Dead aired its pilot, viewers knew this series would amount to more than just a “zombie show.” The characters introduced in the first three episodes set the tone for the series, and fans were hooked not only because of the apocalyptic storyline but because the characters were real. Viewers could imagine themselves reacting in the same manner in a similar situation.

Throughout the series, all of the characters were altered, for good or bad, due to the circumstances they found themselves in. But some standouts really allowed the end of the world to transform them into something more significant.

The Walking Dead – character transformations

Below is a list of 5 incredible transformations of The Walking Dead characters who survived the series. Rosita (Christian Serrates) would have made this list had she survived. She is one character many fans weren’t too keen about until she changed into a serious fighter with fantastic leadership abilities.

  1. Carol – many fans will agree that Carol Peletier, portrayed by Melissa McBride, has made the most drastic transformation of any character. One of only two remaining from season 1, she began as a beat-down, abused wife who barely knew how to use her own voice. By the series’ end, she was living her best life, although saddened she wouldn’t be traveling on with Daryl (Norman Reedus). She has made the tough decisions that others were too weak to make and has come out a queen. Hopefully, more of Carol’s story can be told.
  2. Father Gabriel – next to Carol, Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) is another character who is almost unrecognizable from his cowardly introduction. He was timid and over-cautious, choosing to stay locked inside the protection of his church walls, even when members of his flock were screaming for help on the outside. He had his redemption moment in the finale when he was once again faced with people being locked out with a horde bearing down. He stood his ground, saying that he would have to be shot in order to stop him from letting the Commonwealth citizens back inside.
  3. Negan – The former leader of the Saviors, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is another character who looks nothing like his former self. Gone is the “We are all Negan” attitude he had initially. As Ezekiel (Khary Payton) reminded him, no one has forgotten the wrongs he did. It has been a long road for this character, but he is forced to recognize what he did and own it by the finale. It will be interesting to see how his story leads into the spinoff with Maggie (Lauren Cohan).
  4. Daryl – the first scene that introduced Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), a character not featured in the comic story, is vastly different than the Daryl of today. He, along with his low-life brother Merle (Michael Rooker), planned to rob the Atlanta group blind. Now, Daryl would die for any of the members of his found family. Since Rick’s disappearance, Daryl has slowly come forward and taken on more of a leadership role within the survivors and as a father figure to Judith (Cailey Fleming) and RJ (Antony Azor). His story will continue in a spinoff series.
  5. Eugene – while not a favorite of many, Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) has most assuredly become a different person since first introduced. In the beginning, he lied to anyone within hearing distance to save his own skin. He didn’t think about who would be hurt in the process. But over time, he owned up to his past actions and became a productive member of our survivors.

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