Former Governor star David Morrissey is pleased The Walking Dead avoided the harsher aspects of creator Robert Kirkman’s comic books, particularly the villain’s “brutal” assault on Michonne (Danai Gurira).
“I was pleased that some of the stuff between the Governor and Michonne didn’t come out into the TV version,” Morrissey told Cerealkillerz at Vienna Comic Con.
“I thought that was pretty brutal in the comics. Not just the fact she cuts his nuts off or he loses his eye with a spoon, but some of the way they treated Michonne and the torture and stuff, I wasn’t wild about.”
Michonne’s comic book counterpart was barbarically beaten and raped by the Governor when she and companions Glenn and Rick Grimes were taken prisoner at Woodbury, where the Governor committed such atrocities as severing Rick’s right hand and feeding it to his “pet:” zombified niece Penny.
A vengeful Michonne later retaliated by taking the Governor prisoner and subjecting him to a makeshift torture chamber, using pliers, a hammer, an acetylene torch, an electric power drill, and a spoon, which Michonne forcibly inserted into his rectum.
After nailing the Governor’s penis to a board, drilling into his shoulder, prying off his fingernails, and dismembering his arm with her katana, Michonne gouged out the Governor’s eye with that same spoon — giving the one-eyed villain his iconic look.
Michonne’s graphic rape that left her beaten and bloodied was significantly toned down for the show, playing out with an assault on a captured Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who was forced to remove her clothing under threat from the predatory Governor.
Morrissey’s Governor would later lose his eye during a knockdown brawl with Michonne, who committed the deed using a shard of glass from one of the many shattered fish tanks holding the Governor’s prized collection of decapitated walker heads.
The actor was relieved for the more humanized take on the Governor, played out in part through a romantic entanglement with Andrea (Laurie Holden), then Michonne’s closest ally, and later the Chambler family — Lilly (Audrie Marie Anderson), Tara (Alanna Masterson), and young Meghan (Meyrick Murphy) — who the Governor claimed as his own.
“I was pleased the writers’ room, they sort of took the Governor further back in his journey,” Morrissey said.
“I think in the comics when you see the Governor, he’s pretty evil the minute you meet him. Whereas I felt that they gave me license to make him much more complex in those early episodes where you were really unsure of who he was for a while.”
In April, Morrissey said he would “love” to reprise the role, possibly in an adaptation of Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga’s The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor prose novel.
AMC has since announced a slew of Walking Dead Universe projects to expand the universe through films, specials, series, and other digital content to explore the Dead franchise in the past, present, and future — a move that would allow Morrissey to resurrect the character in a Rise of the Governor-inspired prequel.
The Walking Dead Season Nine airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.