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The Governor

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The Governor

Full Name
Phillip Blake (TV show), Brian Blake (Comics),
The Governor
The Walking Dead series
Businessman, "governor" of the town of Woodbury
Powers / Skills
High intelligence, expertise in guns, cunning
Drinking, love affairs with townswomen.
Continue to build Woodbury, kill Rick Grimes and rest of the prison group.
Type of Villain
Evil Ruler, Magnificent Bastard, Complete Monster

Kill them all!
~ The Governor

The Governor is a character in the comic book series The Walking Dead, as well as the TV series and the novels. He is the insane leader of Woodbury who takes extreme measures to assume command over the residents of the town.

In The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor

Brian Blake, aka The Governor, is one of the primary protagonists in the novel "The Walking Dead: Rise of The Governor", alongside his brother, Phillip. He is described as being a skinny man and is intelligent and good-natured, but meek, insecure, and prone to shying away from danger or seeking protection from Philip (despite being the elder brother). Before the apocalypse he was briefly married to a "crazy" Jamaican woman named Jocelyn, who left him, and set up several music shop businesses with money borrowed from his parents - all of which failed. When the apocalypse started, he was living with his parents (it is unknown what happened to them, but they may have been killed at the start of the outbreak). He joined Phillip, his daughter Penny and Philip's two friends Nick and Bobby in order to survive. After Bobby dies from blood loss after being bit by a zombie, Brian, Phillip, Penny and Nick take their weapons and supplies and head off to find a home.

While traveling through Atlanta, the group meets a family in an apartment, where they take up residence but are soon kicked out by the family. They then live in an abandoned house, where a drug-addled and heavily armed gang attempt to take the house and kill the group.

A gunfight ensues and then ends with most members of the gang being killed and Penny being shot and killed as well, despite Brian's attempts to protect her. In response, an enraged and grief-stricken Phillip beats Brian severely, blaming him for not keeping his daughter safe. Nick helps Brian recover and the two discover, to their horror, that Phillip is holding two of the gang members, a man and a woman, captive and has been horrifically torturing them (and raping the woman) for days in revenge for what happened to Penny. Nick shoots both of them to end their suffering. Brian and Nick argue about Phillip; Brian is horrified by what his brother has done but refuses to abandon him out of sibling loyalty and gratitude for keeping the group alive so far, whilst Nick argues that Phillip has lost it completely and thinks they should leave him. After that, Brian, Phillip and Nick discover Woodbury, a beat up old town with a fair amount of people living in it. They then take up residence in a apartment, where Phillip sneaks Penny, as a zombie, inside and feeds her appendages from bodies of people he claims he didn't kill.

One night, Nick saw Phillip dragging a girl against her will and he and Brian tried to stop him, which ended with Nick shooting and killing Phillip and also accidentally shooting the girl Phillip was dragging. Nick was then killed on the spot by Brian, who held Phillip while he died in his arms. The next day, Woodbury is being terrorized by National Guard soldiers. Brian, who always went to Phillip for protection during intense situations, wonders what his brother would do, undergoes an out of body experience that has him carrying out the vision of what Phillip would do and murders the soldiers' leader, Gene Gavin.

Brian then encouraged the residents of Woodbury to help him kill the remaining soldiers and became the leader of Woodbury. One of the residents, Martinez, asks Brian his name, to which Brian tells him that his name is Phillip Blake.

In the Comic Book Series

Brian Blake the Governor

The Governor as seen in The Walking Dead comic book series.

Brian was a primary antagonist of The Walking Dead comic book series. As the Governor, he feeds outsiders to the zombies and runs fights between his people with the zombies surrounding them. He also keeps Penny as a zombie pet and keeps the heads of his decapitated victims in fish tanks.

When Rick Grimes, Michonne and Glenn arrive in town, the Governor appears friendly at first, until he reveals his true colors and demands to know the location of the prison. When they refuse to reply, the Governor cuts off Rick's hand, rapes Michonne repeatedly and mentally traumatizes Glenn. After Marinez helped the three escape, Michonne brutally dismembers and disfigures the Governor and leaves him to die, but the Governor is saved by his two top men, Bruce and Gabe, and survies with the help of Bob Stookey, the town drunk who was a former army medic. After that, the Governor receives Martinez's zombified head and uses it as propaganda to make it like he was murdered by Rick's group in cold blood. With that, he and his army attack the prison, but they are soon forced to retreat. When Michonne and Tyreese follow them in an attempt to kill the Governor, Tyreese is captured and Michonne's katana is taken. With Tyreese hostage, he demands Rick and his group to give up the prison or he will murder Tyreese. After Tyreese tells them not to let him in and so they do, the Governor decapitates him with Michonne's katana and kicks his body into the grass field. He then returns to his people saying that Rick's group murdered Tyreese. They then attack the prison a second time. When many of the Governor's men are killed, the Governor, in an act of desperation, rams his tank through the prison fences. This leads to members of Rick's group killed and allows the zombies to enter the prison.

After murdering Alice, the Governor notices the Grimes family trying to escape and orders Woodbury resident Lilly Caul to kill them. She shoots and kills Lori, which causes her to fall on top of Judith and crush her. While the Governor executes Hershel, Lilly examines Lori's dead body and discovers Judith under her. Horrified and enraged, Lilly draws her gun to the Governor, but she gets distracted and this allows the Governor to pull the gun away from her and punch her. While the Governor is fending off zombies, Lilly pulls out her handgun and shoots him in the head then kicks his body into the hoards of zombies.

In the TV Series

Phillip Blake the Governor

The Governor (portrayed by David Morissey) in The Walking Dead TV series.

Season 3

The Governor (real name: Philip Blake) is the primary antagonist of the third season of The Walking Dead. In it, he is shown as the governor of Woodbury whose wife was killed in an auto wreck and keeps his daughter, Penny, as a walker. He also had walker heads in aquarium tanks and was also in a relationship with Andrea. In his debut episode, "Walk With Me", he introduced Andrea and Michonne to Woodbury, and appears to be a friendly guy. While taking care of Lt. Welles, the Governor discovers that Welles' men have a camp not far from Woodbury. When he and his men find them, the Governor tells them that they have Welles before they gun them all down and take their supplies. After that, the Governor returns to Woodbury and tells the people that the men were killed by walkers when they got there. That night, the Governor goes to his room of aquarium tanks, and among them is the decapitated head of Lt. Welles.

In the episode, "Made To Suffer", While Rick and his group rescue Glenn and Maggie, Michonne heads to the Governor's apartment, where she finds the aquarium tanks and a zombified Penny. Before she can kill Penny, the Governor shows up and begs her not to kill her. Knowing that Penny is not a human, Michonne kills her. This leads to a brutal fight between the Governor and Michonne, ending with her stabbing the Governor in the right eye with a glass shard, causing a lot of damage to his eye. He now wears an eye-patch to cover the wound.

Since then, the Governor, seeking revenge for his daughter's death, has seeked to destroy Michonne, Rick and the prison group. His actions have lead to an assault on the prison and the deaths of Axel and Merle Dixon.  

In “Welcome to the Tombs”, The Governor has Milton Mamet tied up to a pipe in the shacks and beats him up, blaming him for the death of his men, since Milton burned up the walkers they had captured. He begins to berate him and tell him to be stronger. When Milton asks about Andrea, he takes Milton to Andrea's torture room, and orders him to kill her in order to get out of this situation alive. Milton tries to attack The Governor instead, but The Governor defends himself and stabs Milton in the gut multiple times, he then decides to leave Milton locked with Andrea, since he will reanimate and kill her, before leaving the torture room, The Governor says: "In this life, you kill or you die... Or you die and you kill."

Later, he and the Woodbury Army head to Rick's group at the prison so they can kill them once and for all. They arrive there exploding the guard towers, shooting all the barricades and running down the courtyard gate, but the prison seems to be empty. Later, they got attacked by flash grenades and walkers, everyone starts panicking and The Governor tries to calm them down, as they are running outside, Glenn and Maggie start shooting at them from the catwalk, telling them to leave the prison. The Governor wants to stay and fight, but the scared army of citizens leave the prison behind, prompting The Governor and his men to get in a car and go after them. As they reach the army, they stop the convoy and The Governor leaves his car angry at them, ordering them to go back to the prison immediately. Martinez and Allen agree with him, but the rest of the army refuse to attack the prison again, since they are scared and want to return to the safety of Woodbury. The Governor loses his sanity and starts shooting everyone to the ground, including Allen. Martinez and Shumpert only watch horrified as The Governor shows no remorse whatsoever after killing 23 of his own people. The Governor gets back in his car with Martinez and Shumpert and they drive off to an unknown location.

Season 4

The Governor did not appear in the first few episodes of the season, but he was mentioned by Michonne, Daryl, and Tyreese. He is the primary antagonist of the first half of the season. During the season, he appears in the very end of "Internment", secretly watching over the prison from a distance.

In Live Bait, The Governor camps at the site where he massacred the National Guard soldiers with his remaining two men, Martinez and Shumpert. However, they grow wary of him and abandon him during the night. He then returns to Woodbury and burns it to the ground. After surviving for seven months on his own, he comes across a building with several messages and names written on them, one of which is Brian Heriot. After arriving in a town, The Governor sees a young girl peering at him from a window and enters the house, finding a family who, at first, warily hold him at gunpoint, but then welcome him into their home.

During his time there, he befriends them and slowly begins socializing. He helps them out on multiple occasions, including recovering oxygen tanks for an terminally ill cancer patient (their father). He begins to develop close bonds with the family, especially the girl, Meghan. He then kills a zombified David, who expires after using up the oxygen.

Eventually, Philip makes the decision to leave, but the family comes with him. The group rests on the side of the road, in a semi-truck, where The Governor and Lilly share a passionate kiss. On the road, they are pursued by walkers, and Lilly and Tara are separated from The Governor and Meghan. The Governor carries Meghan to flee but falls into a pit, similar to the "Screamer pits" of Woodbury. The Governor manages to kill all of the walkers in the pit, and is discovered by Martinez.

In "Dead Weight", after Martinez takes him and Megan out of the pit, he allows The Governor and The Chamblers to join his group as long as they don't question his leadership. After settling in with the group, the Governor plays some golf with a drunk Martinez. Martinez offers Phillip to run the camp as a partnership which enrages him. The Governor then hits Martinez with a golf club and drags him to a walker pit, slowly dropping him into the walkers resulting with Martinez's being eaten alive. The Governor later stabs and strangles Pete, dragging his body out to the lake and weighing it down. The Governor then threatens Mitch into letting him become the leader and to say that Pete died on a supply run. The Governor is last seen near the prison, he spies on Rick and Carl, and then he spots Hershel and Michonne and trains his gun on Michonne from a distance.

In "Too Far Gone", The Governor kidnaps Michonne and Hershel and later gathers up the people at the camp and convinces them to help take the prison for their own. The Governor leaves Lilly and Meghan at the camp to keep them safe. In the hostages RV, The Governor tells Hershel that they can't live together as he wouldn't get along with Rick and Michonne. The Governor's group part to the Prison and they start by blowing up a tower with the tank- He calls Rick to talk and tells him that their people must leave the prison or they would die. Despite Rick trying to convince that they could live together, The Governor says they can't. When Rick refuses to leave, The Governor hits Hershel in the neck with Michonne's sword, causing Rick to go angry and shoot the Governor in the arm and also causing the two groups to open fire. The Governor chases a dying Hershel and completely beheads him. After this, Lilly arrives with a dead Meghan, who was bitten by a walker. The Governor remians silent and shoots the little girl to prevent reanimation. He then orders the group to bring the fence down and kill the prison group. As the Governor advances behind the tank, he takes cover behind a bus and is tackled by Rick. The two engage in a fist fight and The Governor gains the upper hand. As he is about to kill Rick by choking him, Michonne sneaks behind him and stabs him in the chest. She approaches him and leaves him for dead. Then, Lilly approaches a dying Governor and shoots him in the head, killing him.



  • In 2009, The Governor was ranked as IGN's 86th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
  • In the TV show, He is portrayed by British-born actor David Morrissey.
  • In a Comic Book Resources interview, Robert Kirkman jokingly said: "A lot of different characters have aspects of my personality, I think, but for the most part, I'm just making people up. Not one character is exclusively based on one person. Except for The Governor, who is exactly like Joe Quesada [editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]. They are literally exactly the same.".
  • Regarding the torture and medical care of The Governor, Robert Kirkman wrote: "It wasn't that Bob was such a good medic that suddenly came out of nowhere that saved Governor's life-although he certainly did save his life. The idea is that Michonne was keeping The Governor alive, so she could torture him more. His wounds were bad, but not impossible to heal from.".
  • The Governor has suffered the most pain and injuries in the comic book series. For example, gunshots (chest, shoulder, cheek), amputations (ear, eye, fingernails, arm, some parts of his cheek, and possibly penis), blood loss, been exposed to fire (Michonne stopped his arm nub's bleeding with blowtorch), hits, bites, and kicks (numerous counts, most from Michonne), and numerous falls (fall from Jared's tank, explosion). He has also vomited badly several times (both puke and blood) and he's been drilled in the shoulder.
    • The Governor is one of the two people in the comic series to lose an eye, Carl being the second.
      • The Governor lost his left eye which is opposite of Carl who lost his right.
  • The Governor's kiss with Penny shows one of several incidents, proving the survivors cannot be turned into zombies by exchanging body fluids.
  • Brian had mentioned to zombified Penny that he had attempted the act of cannibalism.
  • Brian is one of the many people who have been amputated in The Walking Dead.
    • Brian managed to have his arm, ear, and possibly penis amputated by Michonne.
  • Brian, along with Rick Grimes, Andrea, Michonne, and Abraham Ford, have killed the most named characters, either as a zombie or as a living person.
  • Brian has killed the most characters, either as a zombie or as a living person out of everyone in the Comic Series combined.
  • Brian is one of the few characters with a continuing nickname.
  • In the Comic Series, he loses his left eye to Michonne, whereas in the TV Series episode, "Made to Suffer", he loses his right.
  • In "The Governor Special", the origin of Brian's fish tank of human heads is revealed.
  • The Governor's signature sidearm is a Beretta 92SB Nickel, he also likes to use a Steyr AUG A1 assault rifle.
  • "He is a badass, just as in the comic book. He scares me." Glen Mazzara quoted as saying within an AMC interview based on fan questions.
  • In the Comic Series and corresponding novel The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, The Governor, Philip/Brian Blake, was of partial Hispanic descent. It appears that the show has gone another way with the character's origin, or at least his ethnicity.
  • The Governor is one of the few characters with a continuing nickname.
  • In response to a fan's worriment about how the nature of the character would be, in the face of mainstream television, Kirkman offered a reassuring statement that he would not be watered down for the show.
  • An Entertainment Weekly article released on September 14, 2012 confirmed The Governor's real name to be Philip, despite in the Comic Series, where his name is Brian.
  • In "Hounded", Merle chooses not to reveal to The Governor that Michonne has survived, due to the fear of his wrath. This is similar to how Dwight decides not to tell Negan about Paul Monroe's escape, for the same reason.
    • As a result of this lie, he lost his right eye to Michonne, which was one of the factors to him betraying Merle.
  • In the TV Series, the Governor loses his right eye during the fight with Michonne, whereas in the Comic Series, he lost his left.
  • In the TV Series, he suffered much less damage from Michonne in the fight, as he only lost an eye, whereas in the Comic Series he lost an eye, arm, ear, and had his genitals nailed to a 2x4. He did, however, lose his daughter, causing him much more emotional pain than physical, as well as driving him to be presumably one of the least sane people encountered so far in the TV Series.
  • The Governor is one of two characters to appear on a promotional Season poster, the other character being Rick Grimes.
  • In the Comic Series, Penny was The Governor's niece, but in the TV Series, she appears to be his daughter.
  • The Governor's clothes can be purchased as an Xbox 360 Avatar Outfit.
  • In "This Sorrowful Life", Merle mentions that the Governor had slashed the throats and stabbed any opposing people he came across, saying to "Never waste a bullet". It is apparent that The Governor has recently reconciled this practice (he shoots both Axel and Merle and directs his men to shoot any of the prison survivors on sight) 
  • Philip is the second of three to make a walker herd intentionally (the Walker Bomb released on the prison) the first being Hershel and the third being Merle.
    • Interestingly enough, all three characters are the only ones in the TV Series known to have had a significant amputation.
  • Philip has killed more living people than any other characters, with more than 50 counts.
  • The Governor didn't care if the people he killed come back as zombies or not. Unlike Rick and the others who shoot living people in the head, The Governor shoot any part of the body.
  • The novels The Road To Woodbury and The Fall Of The Governor show that the Governor seems to have two distinct personalities - "Philip/the Governor" who is the dominant personality, and "Brian", who is mostly repressed and submerged by "Philip" and reacts in horror to the atrocities the Governor commits. Although there is no mention of any supernatural elements in The Walking Dead, one fan theory is that Philip's spirit is possessing his brother's body, which goes some way towards explaining how Brian's personality could've changed so drastically, regardless of the traumas and madness he suffered.

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