Walking Dead finale: 6 characters whose survivals shocked the fandom

Ross Marquand as Aaron, Cooper Andrews as Jerry - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 23 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC
Ross Marquand as Aaron, Cooper Andrews as Jerry - The Walking Dead _ Season 11, Episode 23 - Photo Credit: Jace Downs/AMC /

The Walking Dead series aired its last episode in November 2022. During the final segment of episodes, fans braced themselves for significant deaths that never came. In a final season, viewers expect a high body count, which generally includes some major characters. The Walking Dead series took the safe route, killing off only one character who fans consider a series regular. There are several characters whose survivals have surprised the fandom.

Rosita Espinosa, portrayed by Christian Serratos since season 4, died in the finale episode. This was per the actress’s request, who wanted closure to a character she would never revisit. Love the character or hate her, it was an emotional death as she received a walker bite while trying to protect her child, Coco.

Throughout season 11, many characters saw some close calls, but the overall death toll of the main survivors was minuscule.

Walking Dead characters who survived the finale

Daryl (Norman Reedus), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) were all going to survive as they have spinoff series coming in 2023. Even Carol (Melissa McBride) was assumed to survive as Reedus, showrunner Angela Kang and McBride talked about Carol’s story not being over.

Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) was one character many fans thought would die in the series finale. Eugene had always survived on the wits of others and his numerous lies but would eventually become quite the survivor. Meeting Max (Margot Bingham) boosted his spirits as he finally found true love. This gave him the courage to fight. In the one-year time jump of the last episode, he and Max were still happily together and had a child they named Rosie in honor of Rosita.

Jerry (Cooper Andrews) was another character that, after his heartfelt farewell in the RV with Lydia (Cassady McClincy) and Aaron (Ross Marquand). Many assumed Jerry would die on his mission to rescue Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari). They arrived back at the Commonwealth and were featured in the one-year time jump.

Elijah was another character who fans didn’t see making it to the end. Lydia had bad luck where love interests were concerned, but thanks to Jerry, he made it back to the Commonwealth and continued his relationship with Lydia even during the one-year jump.

Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam) met a gruesome death in the comics. Many thought his death was foreshadowed in season 10 with the appearance of a water tower. In the comic, he fell from a water tower and died at the hands of Beta. The series ending for Gabriel was much better. He survived and happily raised baby Coco, Rosita’s daughter, in Alexandria.

Aaron (Ross Marquand) became quite the leader during his time on the series. Towards the end, there seemed to be a lot of focus on him, and he began to take on the look of comic Rick Grimes. This led many to think he would be a character who died in the finale. His ending was also happy as he was back in a thriving Alexandria with his daughter Gracie (Anabelle Holloway).

Ezekiel (Khary Payton) outlived his comic death when he was one of Alpha’s pike victims. He would then get cancer, and it was believed he would die. Luckily the Commonwealth had medical advances which provided him with the life-saving survey he needed. But this didn’t stop fans from thinking he could be someone who would die before the end. Instead, he was seen to be promoted to Governor of the Commonwealth in the one-year time jump.

Many of these characters are fan favorites and would be great additions to some of the spinoffs or perhaps one of their own. Chief Content Officer of TWD, Scott M. Gimiple, has stated they would love to make more content but need to focus on the three spinoffs currently in production. Only time will tell who else viewers will see in future spinoffs of The Walking Dead. 

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