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How the Badass Women of ‘The Walking Dead’ Have Taken Over

The Walking Dead began as one police officer’s journey throughout the zombie apocalypse to protect his family and pave a way of life beyond survival. Over the past eight years, the show has developed some of the most badass, powerful women characters of TG history. Now, through creative decisions, actors quitting, actors getting fired, and actresses fighting for their characters, The Walking Dead is being led by women in all roles, from leader to warrior. I have compiled a list of The Walking Dead‘s, most powerful women and how they got where they were, both on and off the screen.


Danai Gurira has brought the Michonne comic book character to new heights. Her portrayal as the katana-wielding warrior has brought this show’s enemies to the ground, both living and dead. As one of the first women on The Walking Dead to truly flex her muscles as an offensive fighter, she has climbed through the seasons to become a leader in Alexandria and a problem-solver. Michonne first appeared as an unnamed character in the Season 2 finale and emerged as Danai Guirira in the Season 3 premiere. Her character has been incredibly impactful to the show and the audience. She’s a complex character whose sole purpose of existing isn’t “the warrior woman character,” but instead “the warrior character” who happens to be a woman. Michonne started off deadly and reserved because of her story, and developed complex emotions and relationships that only strengthened her. This character certainly showed other shows that it is possible to have a female character that fights without the fact that she’s a woman impacting the show.


Starting the show as a literal “farmer’s daughter,” Maggie appeared to be a fleeting love interest for Glenn. She survived through the passing seasons of the show not because of other people, but because of the loyalty, bravery and strength she displayed. Played by Lauren Cohen, Maggie’s devotion and courage cemented her into the show’s main group. She became a fighter, leader, and moral compass for many of the show’s other characters. As Maggie grew as a fighter, she also grew into a natural leader, pushing the weak ruler of Hilltop aside and stepping into his place in order to protect its citizens. She grew to be a compassionate and responsible leader as well as a quick and decisive killer. After Glenn’s death, she did not weaken as many “love interests” do, but instead became the permanent leader of Hilltop, turning the once feeble community into a powerhouse to rival Alexandria. Maggie continues to prove herself to be her own individual, badass character as she continues rising above the rest. Lauren Cohen herself seems to do the same as she has left the show, (though they hope she will return), after getting turned down for a pay increase to match the male side characters such as Daryl. She will now star in a new show, Whiskey Cavalier, to prove that it is not only the writing that makes Maggie such a force to be reckoned with.


In almost every superhero origin story the hero starts out as a meek, submissive character who is basically prey to the bullies of the world. You have characters like Peter Parker, who’s pushed around until a spider bites him and he is able to live out their ambitions of bravery, and Captain America, whose serum allows him to protect those around him and live out a life in pursuit of justice. If there ever was a superhero origin story for The Walking Dead, it would be Carol. Beginning the show as a quiet and oppressed women, she appears as if she’ll be the first to die in the start of the apocalypse. Every action she has is shut down by her husband, and his death starts the incredible growth her character gets.

Played by Melissa McBride, Carol has grown into the most determined and willful fighter of the group. After her newly found freedom from her husband’s terror, she acts on both the compassion and the strategic thoughts that she was previously denied. Carol quietly developed from someone who could not defend herself alone to a strong voice of authority; someone who disguised herself as an enemy in order to slip behind the line and slaughter her attackers. Melissa McBride has also proven herself to be a fighter, as she fought off her character’s demise from the show by arguing that Carol shouldn’t die as someone afraid and that the character had so much more left in her journey. The character has certainly benefited from this, as Carol has repeatedly presented herself as weak in order to wait for her chance to strike. She was even able to hide the ruthless killer inside herself by disguising herself as a sweater-wearing mom for an entire season to gain Alexandria’s trust, all while planning and holding a knife to the throat of anyone who threatened the group. She is the true vigilante of the show, as she won’t allow a rule to keep her from bringing justice and safety to those who need it.

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