Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Michonne Shines Her Flashlight on The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 4: “Indifference”

It’s no secret that The Governor (David Morrissey) beheaded Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) in The Walking Dead Season 4 mid-season finale after Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) refused to let his enemy into the prison, but many viewers and fans were surprised that the big bad went after old Hershel and not Michonne, (Danai Gurira) whom he had also captured.

The Gov. knew that in many ways Hershel was the heart and soul of Team Prison, but seeing as Michonne was solely responsible for taking out one of his eyes and killing his zombie daughter, Penny, we would have assumed he had more of an ax to grind with her.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Kirkman explains why The Governor killed Hershel and not Michonne. “He probably had something a little bit worse planned for Michonne. He knew that he was going to be chopping this guy's head off and he probably didn't want Michonne's end to be as quick. It's entirely possible that he planned to cut her head off next. There's a lot of different things that changed in the outcome of what he was planning immediately after he did that.”

Again, Robert notes that in a way, Hershel was more valuable and meaningful to Team Prison than Michonne. “He also saw that Hershel was this voice of reason. Hershel was pretty much saying what Rick was saying to him back in that trailer when he had him prisoner: We can live together and make this work. Because of that, he saw that Hershel was this guy that was good and trying to come up with a peaceful solution. So taking him out of the picture, in his mind, would affect Rick in a jarring way, and that's what he was after.”

Ultimately The Governor never got a chance to kill his other rival (the you know what hit the fan and she managed to escape before he had the chance to off her) but even when The Gov. could have harmed Michonne he chose not to, which directly contradicts how the character behaved in the comics.

In Robert’s source material The Governor rapes Michonne while she’s at Woodbury, which is something we would have seen during Season 3. However, Roberts says he and the other Powers That Be kept that part out of the show because there was no need to get that dark.

“This was discussed quite a bit in Season 3. It was decided that we didn't need to go there,” Robert noted. “Unfortunately, rape of your strong female character has kind of become a trope on cable television a lot more than it ever was when I did the story. It would be like we were trying to compete with other cable shows or doing something that other cable shows have done, so we tried to go in a different direction and do something more original that was better. That was the main reason we skipped over it in Season 3, and it wouldn't make sense to do something like that in Season 4 the way we were telling stories.”

Are you surprised that The Governor didn’t kill Michonne in the mid-season finale, or rape her back in Season 3? Share your thoughts below!

The Walking Dead Season 4 returns to AMC on February 9, 2014, at 9 p.m. ET.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter