I’ve always been one for nostalgia. I like to go back, reflect, dissect, and roll around in the mud of something special.
You’ll catch me rewatching legendary TV shows like Lost and Breaking Bad. Season one of True Detective is my favorite season of any show ever, and I’ll gladly watch it another 20 times.
I feel the same way about The Walking Dead.
I’m not quite as into the series that have branched off from the flagship series, though. That’s why when news broke that a new project potentially involving “bringing back” old characters may be in the works, my Spidey sense began tingling.
It’s still unclear how this would be done, and to what extent. I don’t really care. I just want it to happen in some capacity. The early seasons of The Walking Dead produced such legendary characters, and some got precious little screen time.
Denise was likable, earnest, and severely under-utilized. Her endearing and genuine persona made her death on the show pretty devastating, even though she wasn’t playing a massive role.
I wouldn’t say you can build an entire series around her, but she was a relatable character. I’d have liked to see her mature in this dark world, as she’d already made so much progress.
A mini backstory on where she was when the madness started would suffice, of course.
Speaking of earnest, genuine, endearing, and relatable, let’s bring back Dale.
Every series needs a voice of reason, and when you’re knee-deep in zombie guts and the world around you is collapsing more and more by the day, that’s especially the case.
I see what The Walking Dead did. They had a terrific wise man in their original group, and they effectively replaced him with an even better one in Hershel Greene.
Solid move, showrunners, and when they took Dale out to expedite the story (the zombies came to Hersel’s farm and nudged our survivors to the prison), he was quite the useful pawn.
But is everyone forgetting how authentic this show first felt when he was around? He was a crucial portal to the normal world that once was. I suppose his death was symbolic in that the cord was officially cut for good, but still.
Horvath was a good character, and he was an older gentleman, so the amount of backstory here is virtually endless. The guy who played him – Jeffrey DeMunn – is still alive and kicking, and I bet he’d be up for reprising said role.
Another great character The Walking Dead should bring back is Andrea. Originally a Rick Grimes love interest in the comics, it’s clear the TV producers opted to roll with Michonne and Maggie Greene over her.
It’s true that Andrea’s character came off a bit bland at times, but she was actually super strong and eventually turned into quite the badass.
Andrea could have mailed it in after seeing her sister die and turn into a zombie right before her very eyes. This was before the TWD universe we see now, as things were relatively normal.
In fact, she considered ending it all, but she powered on, and became a key cog for the group and their plight to survive.
Unfortunately, Andrea also decided to go against The Governor, and as we learned, that didn’t usually end well.
I’d have liked to see a strong female character continue on and help Rick and the group, but it’s worth noting her death was a pretty powerful one.
Andrea’s exit was legendary, but she was a useful character when it came to fighting and obtaining resources. I’m sure there is an adventure (or three) TWD writers could go back and dream up for her.
I left Glenn Rhee out of my post about The Walking Dead characters that should get their own shows, just because I don’t think there was much to work with before we met him on the original series.
We pretty much know all the story there is to tell about Rhee, and after Negan bashed his head to bits, I tend to doubt we can get any show after his exit, either.
Of course, this is the perfect character to go back and use to tie up loose ends.
Rhee was a regular for the group as far as scavenging. He risked his life endlessly for the smallest of chores, and he literally is the only reason why Rick Grimes didn’t die at the start of the first season.
Glenn was another amazing character that remained human almost throughout his entire time on the show, which believe it or not, isn’t an easy accomplishment.
Everyone was shaken when Rhee exited via the end of a barb-wire baseball bat, and nobody would balk at bringing him back.
I talked about one old dude on The Walking Dead that the show should bring back, but the one that trumps him is without a doubt Hershel Greene.
The religious farmer helped create the perfect safe haven for our favorite survivors. He helped save Carls’ life, and then he and his farm also led us to the unfortunate discovery of Carol’s daughter.
We also saw Shane break bad for good, while Rick finally took control of the group and segued into the prison and a battle with The Governor.
Hershel replaced Dale as the show’s voice of reason, endlessly coming to Rick’s aid. Greene wasn’t some glorified yes man, though. He stood his ground on core issues, all while still staying loyal to Rick and the group.
All this, only to see his head roll off his body, courtesy of The Governor.
There is so much story to tell with Hershel. Of course, I’d hope pretty much 0% of it would come in his ho-hum life on the farm. Instead, perhaps he could be brought back to fill some holes for other narratives.
Speaking of The Governor, David Morrisey offered an iconic turn as the menacing comic book villain.
Originally probably out to do good, The Governor created a seemingly sustainable environment, but attempted to hide a separate agenda.
Even that was at its core something to root for, as The Governor simply wanted to restore life to his daughter, who he had been keeping around in zombified form.
He was still a murderous, power-hungry tyrant even before Michonne killed her for good, but that really pushed him over the edge.
We thought for a brief second he’d found a way to bring himself back in the following season, but to no avail.
That said, there’s so much content that was never touched here. Who was The Governor before he began leading this group, and how did we arrive here? I’m sure there were also some other tiny battles he and his cult-y militia dealt with, too.
Whatever the case, Morrisey crushed this role, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in it – if only for a handful of episodes.
The Walking Dead really threw us a curveball, with the show killing off Carl Grimes out of nowhere.
It was a true shocker, seeing as the series seemed to be setting him up for a big role, and the comics hadn’t yet killed him off, either.
So, how do you bring back a dead kid? There are a couple of ways. The first, and more realistic, is we simply go back and patch up holes as Carl is out on various journeys.
The actor that plays Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) is now considerably older than he was at any point on the show, of course, so that may look a little silly.
A second idea (and one I like) is to just make a different universe where Carl Grimes never died. His story can pick up where we left off, or it can just originate from the same source material, but be completely independent.
That’s what a lot of these characters could do, as this side project for TWD doesn’t necessarily have to have direct ties to the original series.
Carl Grimes was supposed to take the baton from his dad, and he was never fully able to do that. In a new string of episodes, he could do that in some fashion.
These aren’t The Walking Dead character rankings, but if they were, you better believe Shane Walsh still takes the top spot.
Played by the masterful Jon Bernthal, Shane went from loyal partner to a back-stabbing, malicious dictator. Rick was his best friend, and in the end, they couldn’t stand each other.
Bernthal did a fantastic job with that uneasy transition, constantly wearing his frustration on his sleeve, and letting the audience know where his visceral head was at.
It led to darkness and ultimately the death of Shane Walsh, but there was just so much to work with here. Too much, I’d say, to have this whole Rick vs. Shane story die after just two seasons.
Walsh has loads of backstory from his days as a cop, to the fall of society, while I’m sure there are a few adventures along the way where he could slide in and prove useful if showrunners wanted to go back in time.
How the new The Walking Dead series goes about bringing these characters back doesn’t really matter. After all, the proposed series isn’t necessarily wasting much time with the why or how.
Creator Scott Gimple has publicly said that this idea isn’t really attached to the original TWD universe. As in, these iconic characters can come back as relative one-offs, where they tell a story (or more) in limited fashion.
Color it an anthology series with characters you already know and love. Whatever it is, I’m fully on board, and hopefully some of the characters I just broke down return to the small screen.
Which The Walking Dead characters would you like to see brought back? Let us know in the comments below.
Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.
When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.