Abraham was Originally Meant to Become a Villain on ‘The Walking Dead’
Published on February 24th, 2023 | Updated on February 24th, 2023 | By FanFest
As a former sheriff’s deputy, Rick Grimes has had many reliable allies during his successful run in The Walking Dead comics. One of the first loyal partners was Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) – an imposing figure whose combat skills are unmatched and who exudes potential danger with his short temper. In fact, when the character was created he was intended to become outright villainous due to his anger issues!
After their grueling fight with the tyrannical Governor, Rick and his gradually dwindling band of survivors are in desperate need of reinforcements. Miraculously, their prayers are answered when Abraham arrives on the scene accompanied by Rosita Espinosa and Eugene Porter. His remarkable arsenal of combat training, military experience and leadership skills instantly prove invaluable to Rick’s group as they continue to struggle for survival in a world overrun by zombies.
When alpha males Rick and Abraham clash on the direction of the group, Abraham is initially tempted to eliminate Grimes. However, after a brief altercation between them both, they bury their differences and form an inseparable bond that lasts until Abraham’s untimely death.
Abraham had spent a considerable amount of time as part of Rick’s group, but his original motivation was to become more than just an irritant. In issue 56, he saves Rick from zombies, yet admits to Rosita that his first thought had been for revenge because of the earlier gunpoint altercation. However, this moment forces Abraham into reconsidering his motivations and stops himself from taking action against an ally.
Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Dave McCaig’s The Walking Dead Deluxe #56 unveils what could have happened had Abraham made one wrong move. Initially, the plan was to make him a villain against Rick but Kirkman later changed his mind. He goes on to explain:
I just loved Abraham as a character. He’s clearly taking a heel turn this issue, but then that cliffhanger brings it all around. He’s a potential villain who maybe, doesn’t want to be. … I was genuinely considering making Abraham a bad guy for a lot of it. It could have gone either way. It wasn’t until I finally got to the end of plotting the issue that I decided to pull things the other way a bit.
Abraham’s journey of self-betterment was one of The Walking Dead’s most notable displays of emotional realism. Rather than an exciting battle or narrow escape, it was Abraham himself who recognized his own anger and made the conscious choice to change—a decision which offered readers a new perspective on how people cope in this post-apocalyptic world. Though author Robert Kirkman initially planned for Rick to face another Shane-esque enemy from within their group, he ultimately decided against it, allowing us all to be reminded that not everyone is driven by malicious machismo when struggling for survival.
Abraham was a physical threat to Rick, and could have had an immense impact on the future of humanity by turning against him. However, Kirkman crafted a much more interesting path – one that favored complex characterization over cheap narrative tricks. Abraham may not live to see humans overcome their zombie enemies, but he will be remembered as someone who helped keep Rick’s group alive instead of being seen as an obstacle in their way.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest