When you develop a “big bad” like The Governor (David Morrissey) and spread his devastation across two seasons of The Walking Dead, you have to give him a big ending.
This guy was responsible for so many deaths — Hershel, Andrea, Milton, Merle, all those Woodbury people, etc., plus the death of Team Prison’s happy home. He had to pay!
In Season 4 Episode 8, The Gov. paid dearly, with Michonne (Danai Gurira) slicing him with her katana to stop him from pummeling Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) to death. Then, as The Gov. was dying, we saw his new girlfriend, Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson), come over to finish him off with a bullet. It was a worthy end.
*Comic book spoilers ahead*
However, in The Walking Dead comics books, The Gov.’s death was less fulfilling. It didn’t even come from someone in the prison group, it came from a Woodbury woman named Lilly Caul that we didn’t know for too long. She wasn’t dating The Gov., she was just mad at him for getting Woodbury into the prison war, leading Lilly to kill Lori and, accidentally, baby Judith.
How did they decide who got to kill The Gov. on TV?
"There were a lot of candidates,” comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman said on Talking Dead after Episode 8. “In the comic, I thought it would be cool to not have the death be satisfying, just because he was such a hated villain, I didn't want Rick to get him or Michonne to get him, so Lilly — a character who was also very recently introduced in the comic at the time — ended up killing The Gov. It was like an unknown that did it. I thought it was a cool thing to do, but as I got older I realized that that's not really satisfying. When it came time to do it again in the show, there was a lot of discussion in the writer's room as to who deserved to get that, who should have that moment, and that's how we came into that one, two, three."
Rick got some punches in, Michonne sliced him up, and Lilly finished him with a bullet. Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick quipped that he imagined Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) getting in on the act too, backing a car over him. It would’ve been funny to see everyone get a chance to take him down.
Are you glad the AMC show decided to kill The Governor in this way, or did you not feel like it was a satisfying end to his story?
The Walking Dead Season 4 returns on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.