Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Walk With Me,” finally introduced audiences to The Governor (David Morrissey), the leader of the gated Woodbury community. He has been the long-time menacing figure in Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel, but it seems like on the TV series the Governor is a bit subdued. Will David Morrissey’s portrayal of the Governor be as terrifying as his comic book counterpart?
In an interview, Morrissey divulges how his character is different from the graphic novel and how Woodbury is a kinder place in the post-zombie apocalypse world.
He is somebody who has an iron fist and a kid glove and he rules like that. If he needs to come down hard on people he will, but he’s also somebody who’s not averse to putting his arm around someone to get the best out of them as well. I think he’s a good team person. Woodbury is everything to him when we meet him. It’s a really wonderful place. It’s a secure place. You can leave your door open, and the kids can go for a run outside, and that, in this world, is unheard of. Security is everything to him. So anybody who threatens that security will be really severely dealt with, and I think in this world, the danger from beyond the walls he’s created is very real.
Last night’s episode of The Walking Dead was the first time in the TV series’ run that the story didn’t follow Rick Grimes and his group of zombie survivalists. It spent its entire running time showing how others are coping with the end of the world. In the comic book, Woodbury is a grimmer, trashier, and almost pornographic place to live. It seemed like no one wanted to live in the comic book version of Woodbury but they had no choice, because it was the only safe haven left in the world.
That difference between the TV series and comic book was very unexpected, but ultimately it was a good choice by the AMC writers and showrunner Glen Mazzara. Morrissey continues to explain how his character is different from the comic book:
He differs massively. I think what happens in the comics is we get to meet the Governor later on in his genesis. He’s fully formed, really. He’s arrived at this sadistic person. My Governor isn’t like that. We see him much earlier on. He’s dealing with the problems of leadership, which are trying to keep people fed, and safe, and comfort them, provide things for his people. So he isn’t the sadistic man that we see in the comic books. He’s somebody who’s ruthless and does terrible things, but he does them from a really important place. I think he can justify everything he does.
There really weren’t any hints of what the Governor will become later in the series. Morrissey’s actions at the end of “Walk With Me” were completely justified for the protection of his people. Rick Grimes’ actions in last week’s episode, “Sick,” were practically the same as the Governor’s. Is Rick Grimes slowly turning into the Governor?