The Walking Dead has been airing for nearly a decade. Since it’s first episode in 2010, it’s gained a major following and has become one of the most popular shows on television. Season nine just ended, and fans lost a lot of important characters along the way.
While viewers are used to losing their favorite characters in the zombie apocalypse drama, there have been quite a few big names leaving the show the past few seasons, including Rick, Maggie, and Carl. A lot of them were characters fans thought would stick around for much longer than they did. It’s rare for a series to lose its lead and continue on.
While losing a character can definitely attract viewers to a show and keep them glued to the screen, some of the losses harmed the show more than they helped. Those exits hurt the show in a major way, but they aren’t exactly popular characters that fans want back. Sometimes characters perish only to cause issues with the storyline. Other big names, however, like Glenn, are losses that fans would love to have reappear on their television screens. Here are 9 Character Exists That Hurt The Show (And 11 Fans Want Back).
20 Fans Want Back: Rick Grimes
Fans are still dealing with Rick’s sudden disappearance in the middle of season nine of The Walking Dead. While Andrew Lincoln had announced it would be Rick’s final episode, viewers still weren’t prepared for his emotional exit.
He flew off in a helicopter after being thrown by an explosion that his friends believe was his demise. Clearly, Rick didn’t perish, but he did leave the show so fans are left wondering where he and Jadis flew off too.
While the show is continuing on just fine without him, most fans have made it clear they would love to have the sheriff back in the future. They may somewhat get their wish. While Lincoln has said he’s done with the show, there are supposedly three Rick Grimes solo films in the works. Walking Dead fans haven’t seen the last of him.
19 Fans Want Back: Glenn Rhee
One of the most pivotal moments in Walking Dead history was when Negan brutally took Glenn’s life with his bat, Lucille. Fans will never forget the look on Glenn’s face right before he perished. It’s haunted everyone since season seven.
Some viewers claim the show went downhill after his exit, while others insist it was necessary in order to drive the rest of the season. Regardless of what fans think, it’s clear that he was a fan-favorite and people miss his presence on the show.
The loss of Glenn has resonated throughout the show for a couple of seasons now. It’s clear he was adored by both the characters on the show and the fans. Everyone loved him.
18 Hurt The Show: Lizzie And Mika Samuels
One of the most traumatizing moments on The Walking Dead was when Carol had to take the life of Lizzie after Lizzie took the life of her sister, Mika. Viewers were shocked, and Carol was never the same after doing the deed.
Fans still repeat the quote when Carol tells Lizzie to “look at the flowers” before pulling the trigger. It was heartbreaking and memorable, even after all these years. Viewers still argue about whether or not Carol did the right thing.
While Lizzie and Mika aren’t exactly characters fans are clambering to have back, their exit definitely hurt the show by causing Carol to carry the burden of putting them down. She deals with the repercussions for that action for a long time.
17 Hurt The Show: Simon
While Negan was certainly the villain of season eight, Simon was equally as bad if not worse than the bat-wielding bad guy. He did things even Negan didn’t approve of.
He had a surprising amount of character development considering he was just a side character for Negan’s storyline. Essentially starting as Negan’s sidekick, he worked his way up to try and take over leadership of the Saviors.
Simon was one of the more intriguing aspects of season eight, so when he lost his life, a lot of the interest with the Saviors storyline went away. The only thing left was Negan, and he wasn’t as intriguing without his leadership challenged at that point. While fans wanted Simon to perish, his ending was a little anticlimactic and ultimately hurt the show.
16 Fans Want Back: Abraham Ford
Fans didn’t just lose one person in the season seven premiere. That would have hurt enough, but Negan had to make it worse and take two lives. Abraham had an unfortunate ending along with Glenn.
While Abraham hadn’t been on the show for as long as Glenn, he was loved by a lot of fans and had truly become part of the group. He was full of great one-liners and was an interesting character to explore psychologically. Abraham brought a strength the group needed.
Fans that wish they could see Abraham again may get their wish now that The Walking Dead has started playing with time jumps. Michael Cudlitz has even teased reprising his role in recent years.
15 Fans Want Back: Jesus
Fans lost quite a few main characters in season nine, but Jesus was one of the most alarming losses. He perished mid-season in an unexpected twist at the hands of a Whisperer, who they thought was a walker.
Jesus has been around in the show since season six, but he has a much more prominent role against the Saviors in the comics than he did in the television series, leaving fans disappointed where the character’s story ended. Many believe taking his life at this point in the series was a mistake.
Right when he finally had his moment to show his full potential, the show took him away. The cool version of Jesus fans love in the comics never really made an appearance. Fans would love to see more of him in TWD if they ever have the chance.
14 Hurt The Show: Tyreese Wiliams
Tyreese is one of the most memorable characters to have perished on The Walking Dead. He had so much heart and loyalty and it really resonated with fans.
The creators of the show insisted he had to go in order to remind viewers of the value of human life, but fans didn’t accept that explanation. In the comics, he lasts much longer than he did in the show and he was taken out right when his storyline was the most interesting. This left viewers wanting more of the character.
To make matters worse, once he’s gone, he is barely mentioned by the other characters. His loss seemed pointless and really annoyed fans who expected more of Tyreese’s story.
13 Fans Want Back: Noah
It’s rare for a temporary character to hold as much space in fan’s hearts as Noah did in season five. He didn’t even last more than one season, but he’s one of the characters fans want to see back the most.
Fans really believed the show was setting him up to be an amazing main character who would stick around for a while. The character had so much potential and it was all wasted when he was eaten by walkers. All his development with both Beth and Glenn lead nowhere.
While the scene he perishes in is certainly intense and memorable, fans would have loved for him to survive for much longer than he did. The loss of Noah wasn’t meaningful or satisfying, it was just for alarming value.
12 Fans Want Back: Morgan Jones
Morgan is one of the first characters Walking Dead fans encountered on the show. He’s the first person to help Rick on his journey. While Rick lost track of Morgan in season one, he reappeared in season three.
Since then, he has grown to be a very important character to the show. Fans liked Morgan a lot more than the creators anticipated. He left in season nine, though it was a pretty open ending. While he’s no longer going to appear on The Walking Dead, his character moved to the popular spinoff, Fear The Walking Dead.
Despite that, fans would love to see Morgan back with his original group of people on The Walking Dead again in the future.
11 Hurt The Show: The Governor
While Negan has overshadowed all other villains on The Walking Dead, before he showed up swinging Lucille around, fans loved to dislike The Governor.
He was introduced back in season three and bothered Rick’s group until his demise in season five. While fans wanted him to get what he deserved, they were still sorry to see him go. He was a fantastic villain. The storyline hurt after he perished, too.
The Governor had people tuning in to AMC each week to see what kind of unhinged behaviors he would unleash on the group. Once he was gone, a lot of fans grew disinterested in the story. Some say the show started going downhill with his demise.
10 Fans Want Back: Dale Horvath
While he hasn’t been around for years, true Walking Dead fans will never forget Dale Horvath. The beloved character sadly lost his life after being attacked by a walker in season two.
He was a strong moral compass for the group, and a sort of father figure for a few of the characters, particularly Angela. Fans weren’t prepared to lose the character so soon after growing so attached to him.
Dale actually wasn’t originally supposed to pass away so soon, but the actor had an issue with the show after one of his friends was fired and asked to leave the show. Fans would have loved to see where his character would have gone if that wasn’t the case.
9 Hurt The Show: Bob Stookey
Bob isn’t exactly the most memorable Walking Dead character, but he’s arguably one who deserved to stay alive. His exit ended up hurting the show.
He was charming and kind, which brought a much-needed energy to the show. While he did suffer from a drinking problem, he was working hard to correct it before he perished. He also had a sweet romance going with Sasha.
His positivity was refreshing in a world where so many characters are reasonably bitter and cynical. Once his life was taken, the optimistic energy he brought disappeared, leaving an emptiness in the group. While fans weren’t clambering to see him again, the vibe of the show definitely shifted in his absence.
8 Hurt The Show: Denise Cloyd
While the main characters on The Walking Dead are certainly important, every person has an important part to play in the story. While Denise wasn’t the biggest character, she had a strong impact on the show.
She brought important representation to the community with her romantic relationship with Tara, causing a major controversy when she perished. Fans accused the show of taking away all of their representation, a common trope for television.
Dwight accidentally hit her with an arrow that was meant for Daryl. While it definitely showed how dangerous and unhinged the Saviors can be, it ultimately hurt the show by angering fans for taking away a character in a budding relationship that was important representation.
7 Fans Want Back: Hershel Greene
Walking Dead fans have a special place in their heart for Hershel. He was an important mentor for Rick, and was a loving, wise presence the group needed in their lives.
When he perished, it deeply affected the energy of the show and altered Rick’s behavior. The way he dealt with the Saviors would have been handled completely different if Hershel had still been around with his words of wisdom. His loss resonated for a long time.
Especially after seeing Hershel appear in Rick’s visions in season nine, fans wish the father-figure was still on the show guiding the group. His influence was so great that he even affected Rick’s final moments on the show.
6 Hurt The Show: Merle Dixon
While Daryl is obviously the favorite Dixon brother, Merle certainly had an important role on the show. Any scene he was in was bound to be entertaining.
He was rude, unpredictable, and sarcastic. His relationship with Daryl was also incredibly complicated. Fans were always interested to see what he would get into next. When Daryl had to take the life of his brother after he became a walker, it was devastating.
After he perished, the show lacked a certain depth it needed in its characters. Complicated people like Merle are what made the first few seasons of the show so intriguing. While the next few seasons were still entertaining, they could have benefited from an intricate, conflicting character like Merle.
5 Fans Want Back: Beth Greene
While a lot of Walking Dead losses hurt, none have hurt fans like Beth’s exit. The youngest Greene sister was a fan-favorite, and people weren’t ready to see her go yet.
Fans had watched her as she started to change from a scared kid to a strong-willed adult. She had just grown out of her naive, childlike behavior, and was developing a great friendship with Daryl, but she was taken out before her story could grow any further. The timing was off.
Once the group made it to Alexandria, fans couldn’t help but think about how great her character would have fit into that new world the group was finding. Her demise was used to push the idea that anyone is fair game in the zombie apocalypse, but fans really wish she was still around.
4 Hurt The Show: Dwight
Dwight is one of the newer additions to The Walking Dead cast, but he earned his place in the show’s storyline pretty quickly. His development from an evil Savior to a redeemed ally was pretty interesting.
While fans had mixed opinions on the character, particularly the way Tara and Daryl forgave him so easily, it’s clear that his character arch was cut too short, hurting the momentum the show was building. He was one of the more interesting aspects of season eight, so his exit doesn’t make a lot of sense for the story.
Reportedly, his character will be moving to Fear The Walking Dead, so it’s possible it’ll be more clear why he won’t be on the original show anymore once the new story is revealed.
3 Hurt The Show: Lori Grimes
A lot of fans think Lori Grimes is one of the most annoying characters in the show’s nine seasons. While that’s certainly arguable, it’s also clear that she was a vital character to the storyline in the first few seasons.
Regardless of how irritating she could be, she was important. Her exit hurt the show more than some fans are willing to admit. She perished in an intense way, as Carl had to put his own mother down as she gave birth to his sister, Judith.
This had drastic repercussions for both Rick and Carl. Carl had to come to terms with taking his mother’s life, while it signaled the beginning of Rick’s psychological unraveling. He had hallucinations of his deceased wife and was unable to properly lead the group, leading to some frustrating situations for fans to watch.
2 Fans Want Back: Maggie Rhee
At the start of season nine, fans were surprised to find that Maggie was no longer on the show. She hadn’t perished, she simply left HIlltop and hasn’t been seen since.
Maggie is a fan-favorite character, so a lot of people are really upset to see her suddenly gone with limited explanation as to why. The show simply isn’t the same in her absence. It was hard enough losing Rick in season eight, now Maggie is missing season nine. Supposedly, her absence is due to a salary dispute between the show and actor Lauren Cohan.
Whatever the reason, fans clearly want her back. Hopefully, they will get their wish, seeing as there are talks of a Maggie-centered spinoff in the future
1 Fans Want Back: Carl Grimes
A lot of character losses have hit fans hard, but none hit the same way as when Carl perished. His loss of life signaled the end of the show for a lot of fans.
When people first realized he had been bit by a walker, they were outraged. How could a show that so clearly centers on Rick and his family continue on without his son? The two had been at the heart of the show since season one.
While it did continue without him, the vibe changed. If he had stayed alive, he would have been able to take over when Rick left. The transition would have been perfect. Fans insist his loss is one of the show’s biggest mistakes to date.