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Shane Walsh is a major character in The Walking Dead comics, as well as its TV series adaption. In the comics, he served as the main antagonist of Volume 1: Days Gone Bye. In the TV show, he was initially the deuteragonist in Season 1, but later serves as the main antagonist of Season 2 of the TV series. He later made a cameo appearance as a posthumous character in Season 3 and Season 9 in the form of a hallucination.
He was portrayed by Jon Bernthal, who also played the Punisher in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Shane is a single-minded, fearless, cunning and occasionally brutal man who is a determined survivor and also a strong leader to those in his group.
During the first season, Shane acted as the leader to the Atlanta group survivors, a position he clearly enjoyed and carried out strongly until Rick's arrival, and then became the second-in-command throughout the rest of the first and second seasons, much to his apparent dismay. During his incursions with Lori, he developed a strong obsession with her; and was never able to get his head around the fact that Lori left him for Rick, who was thought to be dead when he and Lori had their sexual encounters. He believed himself to be a more deserving man for Lori than Rick, and was determined to fight to keep her and Carl safe at all cost. Shane also showed his potential as a father during Rick's absence and developed an admiration for Carl and treated him as his own son. Shane also viewed himself as being a better father than Rick towards Carl.
Despite his strong leadership abilities, combat proficiency, skills with firearms and protective instincts, Shane was also a largely morally unstable man, and by the second season, he had only one motive; to keep himself, Lori, her unborn child (who he believed to be his) and Carl safe, no matter the cost. He believed himself to have the most pragmatic view of the apocalyptic world, and the most qualified to lead the group in the post-apocalyptic hell in contrast to Rick, whom Shane believed had good intentions that did nothing but cause disaster and interference and were likely to cause the entire group to be killed or worse. Shane was more than willing to commit brutality to keep his group safe from anything he viewed as danger, and was shown to be very capable of committing cold-blooded murder, as seen when he sacrificed Otis to save himself and brutally murdered Randall in order to protect the group from the threat Shane claimed he possessed. Shane was one of the earliest members of Rick's group to devolve into a hardened survivor and fully adapt to the horrors of the post-apocalyptic world, a world in which Dale Horvath claimed Shane truly belonged in due to his increasingly darkening nature. Shane was also a great liar and good at concocting false stories as he was able to convince the entire group that Otis sacrificed himself to save Carl during a supply run, and fooling Randall into believing that he wanted to join his group and that he wasn't going to kill him and also convincing the entire group that Randall was loose in the woods and finally revealing to Rick that he already had a plan to fool the group once he murdered him in cold blood.
During the second season, Shane devolved from a good friend and caring person into a cold, cunning and murderous antagonist having completely shed his concepts of guilt, remorse, and moral correctness in favor of survival for himself and those he cares about by any means, such as murdering his own allies, going against the beliefs of the group, and betraying his former best-friend; leading to his eventual demise.
Shane was displayed as a local sheriff's deputy in King County, Georgia, and is Rick's partner, as well as his best friend since high school. Shane was wracked with grief of Rick getting severely wounded in a firefight with escaped convicts, and took it upon himself to try and rescue him as the outbreak started, attempting to avoid military personnel who were shooting innocent people in the halls. He is tortured by his responsibility in leaving him there, but also knows he never would have been able to save Lori and Carl if he hadn't left Rick. He made an impossible decision that he'll never be able to fully justify, to himself or to Lori. Shane harboured feelings for Lori, and the two began a passionate sexual relationship after Shane tells Lori (and Lori tells Carl) that Rick is dead. Among the group of survivors he formed on the outskirts of the city, Shane initially became the de facto leader, a position he enjoyed.
Shane was shocked to the core when he found Rick alive and well among the returning scavenger group, and Lori, blaming Shane and feeling he lied to her about her husband's supposed "death" in order to seduce and have sex with her, ends their affair. At the same time, Shane finds his leadership within the group challenged by Rick – this gradually pushes him over the edge, and he begins losing both his temper and control with increasing regularity, making him reckless, erratic and dangerous to everyone around him. This is demonstrated as Shane momentarily appeared poised to shoot Rick in the back (witnessed secretly by Dale), and later at the CDC, when he gets drunk and nearly rapes Lori, believing she secretly loves him. In Season 2, Lori and Shane have a short discussion over what has happened, both at the CDC and before during the crisis. Shane reveals to Lori that he plans to leave the group, but opts not to once Carl gets shot by a man named Otis, who leads them to his employer's farm. Lori is later revealed to be pregnant, with what may be Shane's baby. Shane later learns of this from Rick, and later confronts Lori about it, believing the baby is his. Lori, ultimately, admits this is almost certainly true, but makes it clear that while the baby would biologically be his, it would be raised by her and Rick only. In the Season 2 episode "Better Angels" Shane attempts to murder Rick in a field away from the rest of the survivors Rick begs Shane to reconsider and slowly talks him down which leads Shane to let his guard down Rick seizes this opportunity and fatally stabs him. Shane then returns as a walker and is shot in the head by Carl.
Shane arguably has become the primary antagonist of Season 2, reduced to being a highly unpredictable and short-tempered loose cannon. Shane bears responsibility for the death of Otis, shows life-threatening behavior towards Dale, and is focused on discrediting Rick during his manipulative interactions with Lori. He is hinting at fatally back-stabbing Rick when the time is right, presumably with the hope of reigniting a relationship with Lori and to resume dominant leadership over the group.
Before the outbreak, both Rick and Shane were stuck in a firefight with an escaped convict, both debating how to deal with the situation. Rick, unfortunately, ended up getting shot in the incident, with Shane taking care of the convict.
While Rick survived, he was left in a coma, and it is then the dead started rising. With the population being ordered into the major cities by the government, Shane, seeing the crisis worsen, accompanied Rick's wife, Lori, and her son, Carl to Atlanta to find shelter.
Shane proved instrumental in getting the two to Atlanta. As they neared the city, Lori became depressed over Rick's assumed death, and the fact that they essentially abandoned Rick in their town's hospital. However, Shane comforted Lori and the two became closer. Eventually, Lori was so desperate for closeness that she had a passionate night with Shane on the highway to Atlanta, something Shane had wanted for a long time (hinting that he could have had a long-term fixation with Lori even before this). Afterwards, Shane assumed the two were now lovers in a relationship and asked Lori, assuming the crisis would end soon, if she would tell Rick about their relationship if Rick was still alive. However, Lori confessed that she did not know. Unbeknownst to the two of them, Shane had possibly impregnated Lori, being that she is revealed to be pregnant not long after Rick returns. The three, unable to enter the zombie-overridden city of Atlanta, settled on its outskirts and joined up with Dale and the survivor group he had formed. Shane, an authority figure, became the group's de-facto leader, and the group of survivors, eventually expanding, lived on the outskirts of the city, with Shane repeatedly preaching the government would arrive and save everyone.
Days Gone By
When Rick eventually arrived and joined the group, Shane was initially overjoyed; however, once Rick arrived, Lori quickly broke off the relationship between her and Shane. Though he acted as if he accepted her decision, he gradually became jealous of Rick and Lori getting back together, and eventually became obsessed with her. Lori confronted him, telling him that he "had to stop". While he had believed she referred to their romance, she really meant his fixation on her. At one point, he attempted to bring up their moment on the highway, which she immediately put him to a halt saying "it was a mistake". Distraught by this, and with his obsession with Lori impacting his mental state, he was sent into an emotional spiral, leading to a fight with Rick over the topic of staying at camp.
Rick supported moving the camp to a safer location, while Shane insisted they would still be saved by the Army. This severely damaged the relationship between the two, with Rick at one point blaming Shane for the deaths of those who had died, during a zombie attack of the camp. Lori sided with Rick after a momentary fight, quickly getting in between them while lashing out at Shane, calling him insane. The sight and realization of Lori going to Rick's side, along with the rest of the group's shock at his actions, caused Shane to have a meltdown, running into the nearby woods, with Rick pursuing, until Shane stopped and held him at gunpoint. He began to yell at Rick, saying how he had believed Lori would have eventually come back to him (thus hinting to Rick about the brief romance between them), and felt Rick "should have stayed dead". Seeing that Shane was completely insane and moments away from pulling the trigger, Carl, having followed and witnessed his father in danger, shot Shane in the neck. Shane choked on his own blood and died seconds later. The next day, Lori spits on Shane's grave, calling him a "son of a bitch".
Safety Behind Bars
When the group discovers The Prison and realize that all dead become zombies, regardless of the manner of death, Rick travels back to the camp outside of Atlanta by motorbike to dig up Shane. Rick states that Shane was a good man (though he was really bad) before shooting him in the head. Rick doesn't bother to re-bury Shane, instead riding on his motorcycle back to The Prison.
All in all, Shane was the primary antagonist of Volume 1: Days Gone Bye.
- Reggie (Zombified)
- Numerous counts of zombies
- 3 unnamed criminals (1 Confirmed, 2 Alongside his fellow officers, Pre-Apocalypse)
- Ed Peletier (Indirectly Caused)
- Otis (Caused)
- Louise Bush (Zombified)
- Doug (Zombified)
- Shawn Greene (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Arnold Greene (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Duncan (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Lacey (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Mr. Fischer (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Mrs. Fischer (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Greene farm inhabitants (Zombified) (Alongside his fellow survivors)
- Randall Culver (Alive)
- Numerous counts of zombies
Volume 1: Days Gone Bye
- Issue 1
- Issue 2 (No Lines)
- Issue 3
- Issue 4
- Issue 5
- Issue 6
Volume 2: Miles Behind Us
- Issue 7 (Flashback)
Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars
- Issue 15 (Zombified)
Volume 7: The Calm Before
- Issue 37 (Flashback)
- 1x01: "Days Gone Bye"
- 1x02: "Guts"
- 1x03: "Tell It to the Frogs"
- 1x04: "Vatos"
- 1x05: "Wildfire"
- 1x06: "TS-19"
- 2x01: "What Lies Ahead"
- 2x02: "Bloodletting"
- 2x03: "Save the Last One"
- 2x04: "Cherokee Rose"
- 2x05: "Chupacabra"
- 2x06: "Secrets"
- 2x07: "Pretty Much Dead Already"
- 2x08: "Nebraska"
- 2x09: "Triggerfinger"
- 2x10: "18 Miles Out"
- 2x11: "Judge, Jury, Executioner"
- 2x12: "Better Angels"
- 3x08: "Made to Suffer" (Hallucination)
- Shane Walsh is the first primary antagonist in both the Comic Series and the TV series.
- He is also the first major primary antagonist in the TV Series, the second being The Governor, the third being Gareth, and the fourth being Negan.
- Also, out of all of these antagonists, Shane has the most appearances so far with a total of 18 episodes (alive).
- Shane's signature sidearm is a Glock 17 and he is also commonly seen carrying a Mossberg 590.
- In both the Comic Series and TV Series, Shane is the first main character to appear in every issue/episode before he died.
- In the TV Series, while Shane is the first main character to appear in every episode before he died, Gareth is the second. Coincidentally, both men were antagonists and both were killed by Rick Grimes.
- Shane is so far the only member of the group that is directly killed by Rick.
- He is also the first (main) character to be part of Rick's group and become an antagonist, the second being Spencer Monroe. Coincidentally, both of them reanimated and killed by Rick, though Shane was killed by Rick while alive, and Spencer was killed by Rick while zombified (he was killed by Negan alive).
- Shane is the first person in the TV Series to cause the death of a living character, Otis.
- Shane is the first zombie that Carl Grimes kills.
- As a main character, Shane is the first member of Rick's group that successfully reanimates, the second being Merle Dixon, the third being Hershel Greene, the fourth being Deanna Monroe, the fifth being Spencer Monroe, and the sixth being Sasha Williams. Although technically, Andrea's sister, Amy, is the first member of Rick's group to successfully reanimate, Amy is not a main character, but instead a supporting character.
- Shane is also the first primary antagonist to have successfully reanimated, the second being the Owen.
- Shane is the second main character to die in the TV series, the first being Dale Horvath.
- Compared to the Comic Series, Shane's death is reversed in the TV Series: In the Comic Series, he is killed by Carl first and then killed by Rick after he reanimates, whereas in the TV Series, he is killed by Rick first and then killed by Carl after he reanimates.
- Also, in the Comic Series, the group were able to bury Shane before weeks later, Rick came back to his grave and dug him up to find him reanimated. In the TV Series, there was no time to bury Shane as he reanimates minutes after he is stabbed by Rick.
- Shane survives much longer in the TV Series than he does in the Comic Series: In the Comic Series, he is killed at the end of the Atlanta Camp arc, whereas in the TV Series, he makes it off of the Atlanta Camp and makes it onto the Greene Family Farm, and he is ultimately killed at the end of the Greene Family Farm arc.
- Shane's role in the TV Series is also much more prominent and developed than his role in the Comic Series.
- Also, unlike the Comic Series, Shane manages to kill or cause the deaths of living characters in the TV Series (The 3 unnamed criminals in the pilot episode, Ed Peletier, Otis, and Randall). Coincidentally, all of Shane's killed victims (except for Otis and possibly Randall) were villains.
- Shane is the first primary antagonist whose role in the TV Series is more prominent than his Comic counterpart's role, the second being Joe and The Claimers, the third being Gareth, the fourth being Pete Anderson, and the fifth being Owen and The Wolves.
- In the TV Series, Shane is the first main antagonist that Andrea has a sexual encounter with, the second being The Governor.
- Jon Bernthal had tried to convince executive producer Gregory Nicotero to allow him to be the only zombie with a speaking line, “Riiiiiick," but Nicotero declined.
- Shane's death was accidentally leaked by the AMC TV store on March 1, 2012 in promotional materials for the Season 2 Blu-Ray set. Photos of Shane as a zombie were similarly leaked and posted on many websites, including The Walking Dead Wiki.
- Robert Kirkman said Shane's death was planned for the TV series adaptation "before the first episode of season one was shot." "Frank Darabont had actually planned to do it at the end of the first season before he knew that the first season was going to be six episodes. Once the show was given a 6-episode order it was decided that we would hold Shane's death for the second season. But from the very first day of planning the second season it was mapped out that Shane would be kicking the bucket at the end of this season."
- Glen Mazzara explained why Shane became a walker in "Better Angels" much faster than Amy, and why he still turned despite not getting bit: "We worked hard to make sure that revelation landed. We knew what we were doing there. We knew it would land a punch. We've never had a main character become a zombie to this extent. Those [rapid flashes of zombie mayhem] represent the storm in Shane's brain to some extent … Amy was a weaker character. Shane is in a murderous rage … he's going to reanimate quicker. There's just more life in that zombie, believe it or not. We do have internal rules for that.".
- Glen Mazzara also confirmed that the producers considered not killing off Shane in the second season, but eventually scrapped it out because, “...what's important about this season is, Rick has to step forward. He has to assume leadership of the group and he has to confront Shane.”
- Shane is one of the few characters to have appeared in almost every form of The Walking Dead media, having appeared in the comic series, TV series, Dead Reckoning, Assault, and Social Game.
- At the 2012 Emerald City Comic-Con featuring a panel with Jon Bernthal and Laurie Holden, Bernthal revealed what his version of Shane's death would have been. The ending would have been the same up until the point when Shane and Rick walk into the clearing while searching for Randall. Rick would have asked why they are stopping in the field as they need to find their prisoner, to which Shane would have confessed that he had killed Randall which is a job Rick should have done himself. Shane then would have pulled his gun on Rick leading to similar dialogue between the two men as in the final episode, with the second change being that Shane would have admitted he was there to kill Rick. Rick would then have had similar dialogue as in the episode asking why he was doing this, as he thought they settled their issues in "18 Miles Out." Rick would have then thrown his gun away, instead of holding it in a non-confrontational position, insisting that Shane would have to kill an unarmed man. Shane would have then charged Rick and putting his gun into Ricks' face using the same insults as in the final episode about Carl and Lori, but adding a new insult such as "I tasted your wife." Rick would have then stabbed Shane to death as in the final episode, having the same dialogue as in the episode telling Shane it was his fault that he was being killed, not his own. When Shane would have came back as a zombie, Rick (having thrown his gun away), would have picked up Shane's gun to shoot him. When attempting to pull the trigger Rick would come to the realization that Shane never put any ammo into his gun, and must've brought Rick out there to have him kill him, forcing Rick to finally be more like Shane. Carl would have then had shown up and killed zombified Shane, similarly again to the final episode.
- Shane along with Michonne, Andrea, Sean, Dave, Tony, Randall, Otis, Daryl, Merle, Felipe, Lori, Glenn, Carl, Morgan, Summer, Rick, and T-Dog have been featured in The Walking Dead Social Game.
- Shane, Lori, Carl, Andrea, and Michonne have also been featured on the cover of the chapters.
- He is the only character in the Walking Dead comic Dead Reckoning to be confirmed alive.
- In the first season of The Walking Dead Shane has hair but by the second season, after his committing the murder of Otis to save his own life, he is clean-shaven symbolizing his descent in madness.