Played by: Lauren Cohan
Seasons: 2 – 9, 11
From the farmer’s daughter, to lover, then a fighter, to the mythicized widow, Maggie has grown into one of the toughest heroines on The Walking Dead. And unlike some of the more eye-catching roles lower on the list, Maggie joined the show in a covert fashion (at least for someone who would become as prominent a character). In the legendary second season, Hershel was the big newcomer, and Maggie was one of his three daughters.
Maggie’s relationship with Glenn put her on the map and then, by the third season, she was truly in the thick of it all by coming face to face with Merle and the Governor, not to mention delivering baby Judith. She hasn’t been looking back since then and her romance with Glenn made her one-half of a beloved television couple. She demonstrates political resolve in Alexandria yet also becomes increasingly hardened.
When her husband is killed, she is understandably depressed, and this adversity ultimately brings her to a black and white view of the world. She knows what needs to be done for her people and has little inhibitions about sentencing offenders to the death penalty. Now a mother, Maggie has moved on from the established Virginia communities but she will return in the show’s 11th and final season.
Played by: Lennie James
Seasons: 1, 3, 5 – 8
When thinking about the best Walking Dead episodes over the years, three that come to mind heavily feature Morgan. The initial draw to the family man was how Rick spent quality time with Morgan in the pilot episode and his comeback was left a mystery. He helped save Rick and educate him about the global devastation event, and after Rick left to search for his own family, he would try to leave messages for Morgan in the hope that they may one day meet up again.
Not until Season 3 does Morgan surprisingly reemerge, but as a deeply changed man. Again, Morgan is in only one episode (“Clear”) and he has constructed a one-man yet well-guarded defensive domicile. He attacks Rick, Carl, and Michonne, but when Rick snaps Morgan out of his madness, his tragic story is revealed – Morgan’s reanimated wife killed their son. Morgan does not join Rick because he doesn’t wish to witness more people die.
Morgan’s true return comes toward the end of Season 5, where he has renewed faith and a transformed worldview. We learn in the flashback episode “Here’s Not Here” that between “Clear” and making his way to Rick, he stayed with a man that taught him that all life is precious. Morgan converted from avoiding people to seeking them out, along with swearing not to kill a living soul. Morgan struggles with his connection to people and eventually leaves Alexandria and remains alone until he again finds a group in another part of the Walking Dead Universe.