The greatest villains of ‘The Walking Dead’

Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the new villain in 'The Walking Dead.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)

The characters in The Walking Dead have endured quite a bit on their adventures. Throughout the show, many people fall, and, sometimes, the living are worse than the dead. In the season finale of The Walking Dead, the show introduced their newest baddy, Negan. who has been built up as the most dangerous of all the villains. Only time will tell whether this is true or not, but, for now, enjoy this list of the best villains of The Walking Dead’s past.

  1. The Governor

The Governor is all of what a good TV villain should aspire to be: He is sympathetic, cunning, dangerous, a natural leader and, above all, ruthless. His pride and pure determination become his driving force. His uncanny ability to bend others to his will is reason enough to fear him. The Governor matches Rick in many qualities, and sometimes surpasses him. He eventually becomes what Rick could be if Rick totally let go of his moral compass. This character is given a unique amount of emotional depth that makes viewers think that he is possibly redeemable. That is until, he gets pushed too far. His look is threatening, his demeanor is threatening, and even his theme song is threatening. The Governor is truly the best of the worst The Walking Dead has to offer.

The Governor (David Morrissey) in 'The Walking Dead.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)
The Governor (David Morrissey) in ‘The Walking Dead.’ (FILE)


  1. Shane Walsh

Formally, he was Rick’s best friend and greatest ally. But after a romantic stint with Rick’s wife, he becomes corrupted by his own greed. Shane is one of the first in the group that is willing to kill to survive. He believes that Rick’s “softer touch” is a path straight to death. Shane thinks that he is the rightful leader of the group and sees Rick’s return as an unwelcome one. He starts to believe that he is a better fitted leader for the group, and a better father for Carl. This leads to many verbal battles between Rick and Shane. They fight for the right to lead, and they fight for the group’s collective soul. Seeing no path forward when following Rick, Shane resorts to murder. After a dramatic and deeply emotional argument, Rick kills Shane in defense. In the end, Shane’s worst enemy was himself. When he loses this spiritual battle, it’s impossible to look away.

 Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) in 'The Walking Dead.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)
Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal) in ‘The Walking Dead.’ (FILE)


  1. Merle Dixon

Obviously, viewers could possibly argue that Merle is not a villain at all. At certain points of the series, he does help Rick’s group. He eventually even sacrifices himself for the good of his brother, Darryl. However, Merle constantly caused problems for Rick’s squad and later works for the governor. Merle is a simple man with a complicated story arch. He toys with Darryl’s emotions and consistently questions Rick’s leadership. Merle is one of the only reasons that Darryl considers leaving his adopted family. Daryl feels that he owes Merle his respect and allegiance, since he is a blood relative. Therefore, Merle is responsible for almost tearing away, what some would argue, the emotional center of the group. Merle constantly puts himself in front of others, and would kill in a second to survive. In the end, he decides to make the ultimate sacrifice for his brother. Thus, making him a well-rounded antagonist. Through his path to redemption, Merle almost beats Glenn to death, shoots Michonne, toys with Daryl and captures Maggie. Merle Dixon isn’t pure evil, but, for most of us, he’s close enough.

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in 'The Walking Dead.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)
Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in ‘The Walking Dead.’ (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)


  1. Gareth

Gareth is introduced to us as a friendly inviter of piece. Supposedly, he ran a sanctuary where all could survive. This place was called Terminus, but this place was no sanctuary. What Terminus actually turned out to be was a giant trap. It existed to lure people in so that Gareth and his group could eat them. That’s right: The Walking Dead went cannibal. The obvious insanity of people being cannibals when they are surrounded by thousands of mindless cannibals aside, Gareth seemed relatively sane. He wore clean clothes and spoke quite eloquently. His philosophy was utterly twisted, but he could almost make you see where he was coming from. He was not exactly intimidating; Gareth was more mysterious and cunning, which can be just as dangerous.

Gareth (Andrew J. West) crouches next to his victim Bob Stookey in 'The Waking Dead.' (MTSU Sidelines / FILE)
Gareth (Andrew J. West) crouches next to his victim Bob Stookey in ‘The Waking Dead.’ (FILE)


  1. Lizzie

Lizzie is one of the most psychologically disturbed characters that The Walking Dead has ever produced. Early in her appearances, she has an uneasy fascination with walkers; she even names some of them and tries to play with them. Eventually, her dad dies in front of her after suffering a bite from a walker. It can only be speculated that this experience caused her fascination to become deeper and darker. It is later revealed that Lizzie has been feeding walkers and leading them into populated areas. Lizzie begins to see walkers as living beings — while everyone else knows that they are simply walking corpses — but Lizzie believes that they are simply changed humans. She thought that after you die, you change. She believed that it was not for better or worse: You just change. This made her incredibly unpredictable as she starts trying to convince others that her theory is correct. In the climax of her story arc, she stabs her own sister to death to show that she will change into something good. It is a heartbreaking picture of a wildly confused girl and her unsuspecting victim. A mentally warped child is not necessarily a villain, but Lizzie was a true danger to all around her.

Walker and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) in 'The Walking Dead.' (Gene Page/AMC)
A Walker and Lizzie (Brighton Sharbino) in ‘The Walking Dead.’ (Gene Page/AMC)

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To contact Lifestyles editor Tanner Dedmon email

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