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The Walking Dead: 10 Underused Characters That Needed More Screentime (But Are No Longer On The Show)

Based on a popular graphic novel series written by Robert Kirkman, AMC’s The Walking Dead follows groups of survivors of a deadly outbreak as they struggle to stay alive in their “new normal” in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The show has always boasted a large and diverse main cast and an even larger cast of recurring characters and minor guest stars.

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Unfortunately, that means that there is always the problem of fascinating characters – some of which were important in the comics - getting killed off or leaving the series before the audience gets the chance to truly know them and to properly explore their backstories.

10 Sophia Peletier

Fans of the show that have not read comics probably didn't think twice about Carol Peletier's daughter tragically being killed off so early in the series, but comic readers knew better.

Sophia Peletier only lasted a grand total of 8 episodes in AMC's hit drama, however not only was she around from the beginning of the graphic novel series to the end, but she ended up marrying Carl Grimes and having a daughter with him.

9 Merle Dixon

Merle Dixon is easy to like even though he shouldn't be. Often spouting racist and sexist remarks, the snarky ex-con was out for himself and not exactly a shining example of a good big brother, but Merle wasn't heartless. Deep down, he cared about Daryl despite their rough pasts, and by the end of his story, he had softened, ultimately dying to protect "the good guys".

RELATED: The Walking Dead: 5 Reasons Merle Dixon Died Too Soon (And 5 Why He Needed To Go)

The elder Dixon was only in 17 episodes, but he left fans wanting to know more about the Dixon brothers' history, and where his burgeoning redemption arc would have gone if he hadn't died.

8 T-Dog

Theodore "T-Dog" Douglas was a beloved member of the original group of survivors that included Andrea, Merle, and Morales. A kindhearted man who wasn't afraid to run headfirst into a fight - especially to protect his friends - T-Dog was always a fan favorite.

Little is known about his past, other than that he got his nickname when he played college football, and that prior to the outbreak, he worked as a driver for his local church. His background was never expanded upon. T-Dog only appeared in 20 episodes of The Walking Dead before his demise while saving Carol at the prison.

7 Axel

One of the inmates living at the prison during season 3, unlike Tomas, Axel was a genuinely nice man who claimed that prison made him a better person. He wanted to fit in and tried to make friends with Carol in his own, awkward way.

Lew Temple has spoken in interviews of the many different roads his character could have gone down. Initially, he received a script in which Axel was a hardened killer. Other times, he was given advice to be prepared to have him take a turn and potentially betray the group. Unfortunately, Axel didn't get more development. He was only in 8 episodes before he was shot by the Governor.

6 Laura

Appearing in 21 episodes, Laura was a member of the Saviors that spent most of her time in the background with only occasional lines and no major arc. That all changed in "Here's Negan", when it was revealed that not only was Laura presumably the first Savior that decided to follow Negan, but she also gifted him with his trusty bat and weapon of choice, Lucille.

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Her surprise appearance in the Season 10 episode had fans dying for more information on her shocking turn from a helpful medical professional to a high-ranking Savior who would kill at Negan's command.

5 Eastman

John Caroll Lynch only appears as Eastman in one episode of The Walking Dead, but he made a profound impact on Morgan through his gentle nature and staunch beliefs. Following the brutal murder of his family, Eastman took his revenge, but it left him empty and vowing to never kill another person again.

Empathetic and intelligent, he seemed to live on his own until he met Morgan Jones. Eastman became a friend and a mentor to him. It would have been interesting to see Eastman and Morgan's friendship develop further, or who he would have become with a larger group.

4 Gregory

Gregory as a character may have been sneaky and untrustworthy, but there was almost an art to how shamelessly slimy he was. There was so much more potential to explore with the cowardly politician and ex-leader of Hilltop. Had he always been that way?

It is reasonable to believe that a zombie apocalypse might turn an average man into someone willing to betray anyone and everyone in order to survive. There are so many possibilities for expanding and developing such a character, whether for the better or for worse. Expertly played by Xander Berkeley, Gregory was featured in 33 out of over 150 episodes that have currently aired.

3 Lucille Smith

Portrayed by talented Hilarie Burton Morgan (who is married in real life to Negan actor, Jeffrey Dean Morgan) Lucille Smith is only in one episode, but she is a badass. Stricken with cancer prior to the outbreak, she continues her chemo treatments while the world is falling apart.

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Despite being physically weak and ill, she still has a level head and she drags her IV out to the yard to take out Walkers like it's no big deal. Her brief appearance in "Here's Negan" left fans curious, not only about seeing more of their past and who Lucille was as a person aside from her troubled marriage, but what things might have been like if she had survived.

2 Paul "Jesus" Rovia

Paul Rovia, also known as "Jesus", was one of the most underutilized main characters in The Walking Dead. Originally a supply runner, he was quick on his feet, a skilled pick-pocket, and excelled at hand-to-hand combat. He eventually rose to become the leader of Hilltop Colony.

Friendly and wise, Jesus was a valued member of the group, and he was also one of the few LGBTQ+ characters in the series. Not only was there more history to be explored and hinted at romantic plots to dabble in, but he had the potential to take a much more leading role. His sudden death served as an introduction to the Whisperers.

1 Beta

The terrifying second-in-command of The Whisperers, Beta is so fascinating because of his hinted at past life as the famed country singer "Half Moon". Glimpses of pictures and vinyl records and Negan's shocked reaction at seeing his face are the only clues that fans got to the big bad's past life prior to the outbreak and pledging his unending loyalty to Alpha.

How did he go from a famous musician to a ruthless, Walker-obsessed killer? Ryan Hurst starred as Beta in only 20 episodes, but if any character could get an episode that gives an in-depth look into his history in the upcoming spin-off Tales Of The Walking Dead, Beta would be at the top of many fans' lists.

NEXT: The Walking Dead: The 10 Best Characters Introduced After Season One

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