Fans of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics are well aware that while AMC’s hit adaptation of the title follows roughly the same path laid out in the source material, they’re not afraid to diverge in important ways. Some characters still alive in the comics are long dead in the show, others play drastically different roles, and if you watched last night’s episode of the zombie drama, “Remember,” you noticed that one key character looks very, very different from the comics.
SPOILERS lurk beyond this point if you’re not caught up with The Walking Dead.
If you’ve been keeping up, you know that Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the crew have now arrived at Alexandria. This marks a big turning point for the survivors as this is the point when they are able to stop moving, stop just surviving, and actually work towards building something real and permanent. Alexandria is still a prominent piece of the narrative in the comic, even years after it first appears.
One key piece of Alexandria, however, got changed on the path from page to screen, as Douglas Monroe, the leader of the community in the comics became Deanna Monroe, played by the Emmy and Tony nominee Tovah Feldshuh. This gender swap could have big implications as the show moves forward.
In the comics, Douglas and Rick are civil, but the two butt heads on multiple occasions. Rick, as in the show, is all about protecting his people at all costs, while Douglas is a politician who cares more about his public appearance and hitting on new female members of the community than with much else. Already, Deanna seems like a stronger leader—she served in Congress, so it’s easy to see why a group of people might elevate her to a position of power—and she has a healthy relationship with her son and mentions a husband. Douglas, on the other hand, was a womanizer in a terrible marriage with a dickhead son with whom he didn’t get along.
It’s going to be interesting to watch this play out and see how this change impacts The Walking Dead. Some have already speculated that Deanna could be a possible love interest for Rick, though I hope they had more in mind when making this change than just romance.
For her part, Feldshuh hopes to be around for a good long while. Talking to EW, she said:
I knew it was a man but I didn’t want to read the comics because I don’t want to know if she dies and when she dies. Because I just assume I’ll be on this series for years to come. I want to have a long life on this series.
We’ll have to see about that, but I already like her better than Douglas. He always annoys the shit out of me when I read the comics, so I’m wherever this change takes them, I’m down to check it out.