UPDATE: Guess who was wrong! Could have been fun if my scenario played out, but we have our Governor: David Morrissey (The Reaping/The Other Boleyn Girl/Blitz). Would have loved John Hawkes if it had to be someone, but we’ll see how Morrissey turns out…
*****This is a warning: If you have not read the comics and are planning to do so, there are MAJOR spoilers to follow. I will be comparing key events from the comic to key events from the show. My theories for the future of the show are based on past events from the comic. Read at your own risk*****
In a recent interview, Robert Kirkman was discussing the future of his hit comic turned TV show “The Walking Dead,” and addressed a few things paralleling the two. Kirkman explained how he looks at the show as a re-imaging of sorts, letting characters take different paths than those drawn for them in the graphic adaptation. Shane is the shining example of this. His character should be dead, but in the realm of the TV show, Shane gets another chance. But then Kirkman was asked an interesting question about a prolific character in the comic named The Governor (I’ll refresh in a second). Kirkman jested and said “what if you already met him?” and proclaimed he knew exactly who The Governor would be in context to the show. So of course I got thinking. Kirkman doesn’t seem like a guy who would put false hype out there for cheap publicity, so we have to assume The Governor is going to make an appearance eventually. Also, could it be possible that we already met someone twisted enough to evolve into the villainous S.O.B? Um, yes, absolutely. I’m sure this theory has popped up on numerous “The Walking Dead” blogs already, but since I concocted this puppy in my own bored mind the other day and didn’t search out other theorists, what’s one more entry going to hurt? So before I reveal the actor behind The Governor, let’s jog everyone’s memory as to who this king bastard was:
In the comic we meet The Governor when Rick, Michonne, and Glenn go to investigate a helicopter crash and stumble upon the town of Woodbury, Georgia…run by The Governor. This tyrannic leader is nothing short of a psychopath, ruling with an iron fist, as he tortures our heroes. We see him use violence against the people he’s “protecting,” abuse his power, and even force innocents into a mock coliseum where the contestant must survive against zombies that have been let loose (think of it as a Roman gladiator against a pack of lions). The Governor is a villain amongst villains in The Walking Dead Universe, being so vindictive he tracks Rick back after escaping and storms the prison where our survivors are holding up. The attack kills numerous major characters and is a huge turning moment for many plot points. Simply, this was the “OH SH$T” moment with the most influence on story comic readers will remember from Kirkman. No antagonists pre or post The Governor has touched the lunacy of his actions as he embodies every angle of twisted thinking a zombie apocalypse creates. Some become rash, some become power-hungry, some become leaders, some abandon all morals…The Governor does it all. So say he was to exist in the show and he was played by an already introduced character….
The prediction being thrown around with a lot of gumption is Shane. His mind is slowly being rotted by the survival of the fittest mentality shown by his shot to Otis’ leg, and he’s starting to become somewhat of a wildcard. Most recently he’s tried to convince Rick searching for Sophia is a lost hope, and the best action is to realistically cut losses. All that matters is the amount of rations, who slows down the group, and what has to be done in order to ensure the survival of him, Carl, and Lori. If that means killing an innocent man or abandoning a small helpless child lost in a forest full of dangerous zombies, so be it. No remorse, just life. It all seems good in TV world: take a main character, throw him for a loop, and turn him into the bad guy. The drama! The suspense! The twist! Too bad this isn’t going to happen, and here’s why:
Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) is The Governor:
The perfect pick based on past events. I’m not saying this is a sure-fire bet, but analyzing the details between comic and show leave Merle as a pretty damn clear choice. Showing up as Daryl’s hallucination, we’re reminded of his out-of-date racist thinking, leave-the-weak behind attitude, extremely violent and drastic tendencies, and just all around terrible qualities. He’s already pulled guns on people and shown his dark side…being in control of a town for the power trip isn’t out of the question for his character type. This redneck thug fits the bill perfectly for The Governor, but that is far from the only reason:
1) A defining characteristic of The Governor was Michonne’s handy work in removing his arm and adding an eye patch via sword. Merle now has his own severed body part, be it only a hand, but emphasis has been put on that missing hand now both at the end of season 1 (pan to hand laying on ground) and this season (pan frequently to attached hands). Yes, this move is so viewers can separate real Merle vs. figment Merle, but Merle has something to be pissed about and a reason to be angry against the survivors. Left for dead, what are the odds he’ll accept them into Woodbury with open arms, and keeping with the lineage of the show a perfect reason why The Governor wouldn’t take kindly to Rick and others being in Woodbury. The show needs these tied events to continue the plot and so audiences can connect point A with point B, where as in the comic The Governor had more random reasons. Should have just let Merle go Rick…
2) In the comics, who does The Governor kill? Tyresee, the popular ex-football playing African-American character Rick meets. Why? Because Rick won’t let him in the prison. A depressing but effective end to a beloved character from the comic. Now, cut back to the show. Who fumbles the keys and drops them down a drain? T-Dawg (who I believed was Tyreese’s equivalent for some time, but actor Keith Allen Hayes is rumored to join the cast in season 2 as Tyreese). Pretty good reason to be pissed at someone else, right? T-Dawg is the reason Merle lost his hand, and with no Michonne in cast is the perfect scapegoat for Merle’s injury. Look for Merle to be the means to T-Dawg’s end just as The Governor to Tyreese. P.S…still pissed about no Tyreese to be found yet. He brought that sense of pure masculinity from a character that could go into berserker mode at the drop of a hat, more than TV Shane could ever do. Tyreese goes into a gymnasium full of zombies, and walks out of a room covered in blood and guts. Team Tyreese 4 life. I can only hope the rumors are true and Rick gains a strong ally.
3) Kirkman has been good to his audience so far, not shying away from interview questions and updating on production numerous times. From this, I don’t think Kirkman would dickishly try to fool the people he’s trying to ultimately please. Staying true to his word, this fits completely with his “character’s choices influence their path in different ways than the comic” suggestion. Like I previously said, all is connected. Rick and crew are the reason Merle lost his hand and almost died, The Governor tried to kill the survivors in the comic…tie that together and you get reasoning for action. But…
4) Has anyone made a connection between the Dixon brothers and their corresponding characters in the comic? Out of the entire group plus Hershel’s farm characters, only the Dixon’s are not based on previously created characters. With no significance, one has to wonder why the sudden stress is being put on Daryl (or why he’s being played by a known actor/isn’t dead yet), and why our show is painting him to be one of the more prolific characters. Quite frankly it’s working too, because I have no desire to see Daryl go. So now we get a conflicted Daryl who struggles with suppressed thoughts about his brother and the situation Rick essentially put him in. Out of this expect to see Daryl faced with the tough choice of joining his brother The Governor in his reign of madness or betraying his blood and protecting the survivors who accepted him.
Tell me that set up isn’t being utilized as we speak. Now, I could just be blowing smoke and just like hearing the sound of my own voice (or reading my own text to keep with the format), but I stand by this prediction with a lot of conviction. We’re almost halfway through the second season, and events are racing to the end of Hershel’s farm setting. The survivors could be moving as early as next episode. The question is, will the show take us to the prison? Somewhere new? Or will The Governor make a sooner appearance than we thought? It’s all talk for now, but hell, if I’m right, I look like a genius. If I’m wrong, at least I gave it the old college try. I’ll gamble.