EXCLUSIVE! The Longest Surviving Characters On 'The Walking Dead' Ranked!

Who survives in The Walking Dead and does Daryl die? These are some of the big questions keeping fans of the show up at night but there are answers.

The nature of   characters meant that it was likely none of the ones there at the beginning would still be there at the end, and the characters who lived the longest surprised many by the time season 11 finished. With Rick Grimes — the one character everyone thought was safe — leaving the show, there were only two characters left from season 1. It’s almost become an unspoken competition among the characters to see who can last the most episodes between their introduction and their death (or the actor getting a new opportunity).

By the finale, there were only two people from the first season left alive on , although a third showed back up in a small scene at the end to hint at an upcoming spin-off series.  characters did have some among their ranks who had been around for a lot of seasons, but even those were not always safe from the walkers or the evil humans who survived by any means necessary. However, with the main series over with, and a few spin-offs coming, fans were assured that some of their favorites would .

20. Magna's Group (57 Episodes)

Magna's group of  characters consisted of herself, Luke, Connie, Kelly, and Yumiko, all of whom were introduced in the fifth episode of season nine, only moments after the massive time jump that followed Rick's exit from the series. Since their introduction, each of these characters played varying roles of importance to the plot, with Luke even disappearing for full seasons at a time. However, of the five original members of Magna's group, only Magna, Yumiko, and Connie survived to the end of the series. While they're not the character's in the show the longest, their 57 episode tenure was still respectable.

19. Alden (62 Episodes)

Callan MacAuliffe portrays Alden, a former member of the Saviors who is introduced early in season eight. He proves to be far more reasonable than many of his colleagues, eventually earning the trust of Maggie Rhee and becoming a valued member of the Coalition following the end of the Savior War. Alden fought alongside the other survivors for many years after the war, even outlasting Rick and Michonne's tenure in the series. Unfortunately, despite being one of the longest-living characters, Alden died from injuries he suffered during a mission outside the community in season eleven. Between his introduction and his death he was around for an impressive sixty-two episodes, however.

18. Sasha Williams (73 Episodes)

One of the most memorable characters, Sasha Williams showed up with her older brother Tyreese when she first appeared in  season 3. She then had to watch her boyfriend Bob die and then her own brother died, leaving her alone. However, Sasha was ready to fight and took her war to Negan. What finished her run on the show was one of the best deaths on . In season 7's "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life," she took her own life while trapped in a casket by Negan. This was a trap, as she knew when Negan opened it, she would have turned and could finally kill him. She failed, but it was all it took for her allies to beat Negan on that day.

17. Glenn Rhee (81 Episodes)

Glenn’s death in the season 7 premiere sent shockwaves through even non-entertainment media, as he was one of the longest-surviving characters until that point.  was incredibly gory, proving with savage authority that no character was safe. His eye popped out of its socket before Negan finished him off. Negan wanted to kill one of Rick’s guys to get the message across, and he chose Abraham. But then Daryl punched him, and he decided he needed to kill someone else to fully demonstrate that he was in charge now. It was particularly controversial coming just a few episodes after the dumpster fake-out.

16. Tara Chambler (89 Episodes)

Tara is an important part of  characters because she was the first character ever introduced on the show to identify as LGBTQ. Since then, we’ve seen a few such characters enter the series – Aaron, Jesus, Tara’s own love interest Denise – but Tara was the first one. Tara has escaped death on a number of occasions, and she’s lost a lot of people close to her. She’s one of the few characters who wasn’t originally in the comic book series. Rather, she appeared in the tie-in novel  and was first introduced in a season 4 arc that took  viewers away from Rick’s group for the first time. She finally died when The Whisperers killed her and put her head on a spike.

15. Jerry (93 Episodes)

It might be shocking to realize that Jerry, of all people, survived longer than all but a few  characters on the show. It might be hard to remember, but he appeared on the second episode of season 7, which was only two episodes after Negan made his grandstand appearance in the season 6 finale. Jerry was there representing King Ezekiel and The Kingdom. Since that appearance, he has gone from Ezekiel's right-hand man to a family man, getting married and having three kids of his own while living in Alexandria. He continued to play into the events to the show's finale, surviving to the end.

14. Ezekiel (93 Episodes)

Khary Payton's King Ezekiel entered as one of  charactersduring a dark time in the show's history, debuting in the episode immediately after Negan claimed his two victims in season seven. However, he went on to become one of the most popular and one of the longest-living characters in Emerging as a bright spot in an otherwise dreary season, Ezekiel and his community, the Kingdom, quickly became one of the fans' favorite aspects of the later seasons. While the Kingdom has long fallen, Ezekiel has managed to outlive his community, joining with the other survivors at the Commonwealth. While he died in the comics, he became the new leader of the Commonwealth after the finale.

13. Negan Smith (95 Episodes)

Negan outlasted Rick as one of  characters, something no one could have expected — except those who read the comics. , and then he started to redeem himself, especially when he killed Alpha to strike out at the Whisperers. Negan did not die either, at least not on the main show.  will get several spinoffs in upcoming years, including , a series set to follow the exploits of Negan and Maggie after the events of the main show's final season. As such, Negan's full tenure on the flagship series sits at a lofty ninety-five episodes.

12. Morales (101 Episodes)

Morales isn't a name that's synonymous with the show, but he's one of characters who survived the longest. He was first introduced in the second episode of the series, as a member of Rick's initial group in Georgia. However, he and his family departed shortly thereafter, before the group even traveled to Atlanta during season one. While Morales only physically appears in a handful of episodes throughout 's run, his surprise return in season eight greatly boosts his tenure, with the gap between his introduction and unceremonious death at Daryl's hand lasting a whopping 101 episodes. The character was nevertheless a missed opportunity for the series, which did very little with his return outside of the mere shock value of his appearance.

11. Carl Grimes (109 Episodes)

For eight long years, Carl Grimes was one of the most controversial and longest-surviving  characters (despite not making it past season 8). This was especially true after his . He had a close relationship with Negan that jumped between friendly and contentious, and yet what got him, in the end, was a bite from which he slowly passed away in an underground tunnel. It wasn't received as well as expected by viewers of the show despite how divisive he was, asultimately Carl Grimes' entire arc felt too dark in tone even for 

10. Morgan Jones (115 Episodes)

Morgan Jones, portrayed by Lennie James, is one of the few  characters from season one to still be alive in the world of today. The character made his debut in the pilot episode and, though he was not present for every episode thereafter, continued to pop up from time to time as the early seasons of the series progressed. Morgan didn't become a series regular until the sixth season of , remaining with the group all the way through the Savior War. While Morgan was never killed off, he did exit the series after the season eight finale, making the jump to the spinoff . His total time on the series, from the pilot to his very last episode, lasted 115 episodes.

9. Aaron (117 Episodes)

Aaron first showed up in season 5 as a scout looking for survivors his society might trust to bring in and help, and ended up outlasting even Carl Grimes as one of the longest-surviving characters. His introduction shared similarities with Jesus and the Hilltop Community, but unlike Jesus, Aaron stuck around for a long time after his initial appearance. Aaron was a quick favorite thanks to his ability to gain people's trust and his willingness not to ruin that faith. He also had a boyfriend whom he lived with, and while he died in a battle, Aaron fought on and became one of the survivors' most loyal and trustworthy allies. He fought the good fight to the finale and survived to help build Alexandria.

8. Rick Grimes (121 Episodes)

The producers of  always said that no character on the show was safe, but no one expected Rick Grimes to ever leave the show. The character will be reappearing, still played by Andrew Lincoln, in a limited series on AMC. Rick was the only character on the show who could be described as the main protagonist, and once he left  became a true ensemble show with no real lead character. The time between his introduction in the pilot episode and his departure in season nine consisted of 120 episodes, but  in the post-credits of the finale.

7. Gabriel Stokes (124 Episodes)

When fans first met low-key  villain Gabriel Stokes, the cowering priest who had never touched a weapon in his life, it didn’t seem like he would last five minutes in a world infested with flesh-eating zombies. However, he became one of the longest-surviving characters on the show. Gabriel worked to redeem himself and has become a leader. He also became a warrior and helped fight to the end, where he survived and ended up living in Alexandria and helping raise that community alongside Aaron.

6. Michonne (127 Episodes)

When fans first met Michonne, she was a mysterious figure who had a pair of armless walkers acting as her caddies. She saved Andrea’s life during the fall of Hershel’s farm in the show’s second season finale and the two of them survived together for the first few episodes of season 3. She has since joined Rick’s group, saved countless people’s lives, mortally wounded the Governor, and fell in love with Rick. It was that love that sent Michonne off the show, heading out to find Rick, who she learned survived.  in an upcoming spinoff limited series, and had one last appearance at the end of the finale.

5. Eugene Porter And Rosita Espinosa (133 Episodes)

Eugene Porter and Rosita Espinosa joined the series halfway through its fourth season alongside fellow survivor Abraham, who was unfortunately killed by Negan in season seven. Nevertheless, these two companions have been good friends for years, surviving side by side over the course of many episodes. In the final season, both Eugene and Rosita seem to have major parts to play and, while it does not seem likely that both will survive the finale, many fans hope to see these two characters achieve some kind of happy ending. Sadly, while Eugene lived, Rosita died in the finale with him by her side.

4. Judith Grimes (155 Episodes)

Judith Grimes was the first child born in the world of the main survivors on . She was Rick and Lori's daughter, and her mother died while giving birth in the prison. However, Rick and his son Carl took Judith and raised her. Judith and her younger brother, R.J., are the last remaining members of the Grimes family left on the series. Saddled with the heavy weight of her father's legacy, Judith has proven to be of a different breed than other survivors, having grown up in the apocalypse. Her time on the series began with her birth in season three and consisted of 155 episodes, which is even longer than either of her parents.

3. Maggie Greene-Rhee (170 Episodes)

Maggie Greene's arc is one of the most beloved of  characters on the series, as she falls in love with Glenn Rhee, loses him, and then grows to become one of the strongest leaders that the world had ever seen. While Lauren Cohan departed the series alongside Andrew Lincoln, she later returned, continuing her character's unprecedented longevity. Since  in a spinoff series, fans can already determine that she will survive the entirety of 's run, making her tenure a whopping 170 episodes and establishing her as one of the most skilled survivors in the apocalypse.

2. Carol Peletier (175 Episodes)

Carol debuted in the same episode as Daryl. It’s no wonder that Carol has managed to survive so long because she’s one of the strongest and most resilient characters on the show. She has suffered the loss of her young daughter and had to put the pieces of her life back together after that. At the breakout of the apocalypse, she was stuck in an abusive marriage, so in a way, she was already fighting for survival long before the walkers came along. She’ll do anything to secure the safety of herself and those around her, even shoot a dangerous little girl in the back while she looks at flowers.

1. Daryl Dixon (175 Episodes)

When  established itself as a show that likes to kill off major characters at the drop of a hat and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) managed to carve himself a safety net of sorts by becoming irreplaceable in the eyes of viewers. With Andrew Lincoln gone, Norman Reedus became perhaps the most recognizable face on the series, and while survived losing Andrew Lincoln there were doubts it could continue with Daryl Dixon too. And, with a  as its lead announced before the season 11 conclusion, fans could rest assured that one of their favorite   characters would survive the series finale.

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