The creators of "The Walking Dead" have an interesting challenge this season with the introduction of The Governor and the reintroduction of Merle Dixon. Fans of the show already know Merle and already hate him, but fans of the comic know the leader of Woodbury could eat Daryl's brother for breakfast. Robert Kirkman and crew have to make sure The Governor's evil surpasses Merle's evil.
Comic book fans
Fans of the comic book and novel versions of "The Walking Dead" already know how dangerous, demented, and deadly The Governor can be. Kirkman's challenge with the show is that he has to make the leader of Woodbury as evil, if not more evil than, the comic book version without inching into the darker aspects of the character which would upset TV censors. All fans of the comic know there are certain graphical representations of The Governor's evil, which are too strong for TV and the creators of the show have to overcome these subtractions and develop a character that is the human equivalence of a demon.
Right now, fans of the comic book are in the same boat as all other viewers of "The Walking Dead" in regards to the fear of what Merle might do in the future. Since the character was not represented in the comic book before the show, the playing field is level for all degrees of the show's fans. In the few episodes in which Merle has played a role, the creators of the show were able to develop a hated character so strongly that fans initially speculated about Merle becoming The Governor down the road.
In Merle, viewers find a character that probably never truly learned right from wrong. Fans saw similar behavior in his brother, Daryl, but the crossbow-wielding character has developed since his first appearance. One of the main aspects of "The Walking Dead" is to take a look at how each character is able to hold onto his or her humanity. Merle apparently never learned how to grasp his own humanity so the fans are left hating a character that never learned what it is to be humane.
The Governor's evil
In the novel, "The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor," readers learn about how The Governor cast aside his humanity in an attempt to become a powerful leader. Instead of being a character that never learned right from wrong, he knew the difference but made a decision to expel his humanity for control. This aspect makes The Governor a darker character than Merle and the leader of Woodbury is able to conceal this fact from almost all of the people he controls. The true dimensions of how power is more important to The Governor than true humanity needs to be made clear in the show.
To make The Governor more evil than Merle on "The Walking Dead," the creators have to expose and exploit the differences between the two. Kirkman and his crew need to take every opportunity to display The Governor's evil and show how he would take steps Merle would never dream about. They have to convince all of the various types of fans of the show that Merle is a pussycat next to The Governor's lion and make the newer character to the TV version of "The Walking Dead" the inspirer of nightmares. This could be one of the most daunting tasks in the history of the show to this point.
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