Check Out The Striking Physical Transformations Of The ‘The Walking Dead’ Cast Over Four Seasons

The other day, I stumbled across a few still images from early seasons of The Walking Dead and I was struck by just how much the characters had changed over the course of the series. It wasn’t in hugely dramatic ways, but in a very realistic way, the look of the characters had hardened. They’ve grown facial hair. Their hair is often longer. They look older than the four years that have past (or the two years, I believe, that have passed in their fictional world).

I’d also read that the show’s special effects supervisor, Greg Nicotero, has made a conscious effort each season to make the walkers themselves age believably: Each SEASON, they are supposed to look more decomposed, and you can definitely see that in the images below. Indeed, the season one walkers almost look human. They’re sallow and bloody, but they’re not that disfigured. By season four, however, the zombies look like bodies that have been decomposing for a very long time; their flesh is falling off, and their skin tone is much darker. It makes one wonder if, by the 7th or 8th season, whether the walkers will just be bones with skin tags shuffling around Georgia.

Some of the characters, like Lori and Beth, haven’t changed that much, but others like Rick — and especially Hershel — have had more dramatic changes. Carl has obviously hit puberty, while Maggie has definitely hardened from her girl-next-door look into a fiercer character (I’d also say sexier). Glenn hasn’t changed much, except he’s lost the cap, and I’m convinced that all of Glenn’s coolness was in that cap. He’s definitely not as fun as he used to be. Daryl looks cooler; less rednecky, and obviously, Carol has transformed from the meek season one victim of abuse into the bad ass she is now on the show.

Anyway, for most of the characters, it’s not a huge difference, but an interestingly real one: The zombie apocalypse has taken its toll on their bodies. Part of that, I think, is conscious, and part of that, I think, is that the actors work 12 hours a day out in the Georgia sun all summer, and it has taken an physical toll over four years of The Walking Dead.

<Season One Rick

Season Four Rick

Season One Glenn

Season Four Glenn

Season One Carol

Season Four Carol

Season One Lori

Season Three Lori

Season One Carl

Season Four Carl

Season One Daryl

Season Four Daryl

Season Two Maggie

Season Four Maggie

Season Two Hershel

Season Four Hershel

Season Two Beth

Season Four Beth

Season One Walkers

Season Two Walkers

Season Three Walkers

Season Four Walkers