Andrea loves him. The Walking Dead audience hates him. But who is The Governor and what does he want?
The guy we’re seeing on Season 3 of the AMC show is very different from The Governor of the original comic books. For one thing, David Morrissey’s TV Governor at least attempts more of a seductive “good cop” side. Andrea (Laurie Holden) and The Gov did not have a fling in the comics. (But she did have a relationship with the much-older Dale, who died on the TV show’s Season 2.)
Also, in the books, it’s eventually explained that The Gov’s birth name is Brian, but when his brother Philip died, Brian took that name for himself. Zombie Penny is the real Philip’s daughter and The Gov’s niece. It’s not clear if that’s still the case on the TV show or if they are totally running with the idea that Penny is The Gov’s biological daughter. The TV show also has a new character, Milton, who experiments on walkers/biters/zombies to see what they can learn. The Governor keeps Penny locked in a closet, hoping he and Milton will eventually learn enough about walker behavior to see if they retain knowledge of their previous human selves.
A preview for Season 3, Episode 8’s midseason finale shows Michonne finding Penny in Woodbury. If she kills Penny, or abducts her or mistreats her in any way, that could certainly tick off The Governor enough to want to exact serious revenge on Michonne (Danai Gurira), who is someone he already dislikes from their confrontation earlier on Season 3.
The Governor is a leader who will do anything to take care of his group, not that different from Rick (Andrew Lincoln). As we’ve seen on the TV show, The Gov has an extreme distrust for outsiders, especially other authority figures he views as a threat (like the soldiers he had killed).
In the comics, The Governor cuts off Rick’s hand and rapes Michonne in an attempt to locate their prison camp. On the TV show, The Gov threatened to cut off Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) hand and almost raped Maggie (Lauren Cohan) on Season 3, Episode 7. The Hollywood Reporter noted that Maggie’s treatment followed Michonne’s rape storyline from the books. They asked if The Gov was done with Maggie’s emotional torture. Executive producer/comic book co-creator Robert Kirkman answered, “I certainly wouldn't think that would be it. I think the Governor has quite a bit more up his sleeve and that certainly wouldn't have been the be all, end all of his encounters with her. The Governor is not a nice guy and there may be more planned for her.”
Ultimately, in the comics, Michonne exacted revenge by torturing The Governor and disfiguring him, but The Governor lived and his group attacked the prison itself. We seem to be on a path to get there on Season 3 or, if The Gov lives long enough, perhaps Season 4. In the comics, The Governor is killed by a citizen of Woodbury named Lilly, who blamed The Gov for making her kill Lori and her daughter Judith during the prison assault. On TV, Lori is already dead, and baby Judith is alive, so it remains to be seen how much of this story the TV show producers may use. There are several characters who haven’t shown up on TV yet who were already around long before this point in the comics, so anything goes.
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