top of page

We Need To Talk About Christa | Alternative Endings For Telltale's TWD's Most Underused Character

It's no secret that I love choose-your-own-adventure games. Detroit: Become Human is my favorite game second only to my dearly beloved Red Dead Redemption II, with Until Dawn and The Quarry pretty much tied for third place.

Not too long ago, I posted about a character from the Danganronpa games that felt underused from a storytelling perspective, and that got me thinking about another character who got the short end of the stick in the writer's room: Christa from Telltale's The Walking Dead.

Drawing inspiration from the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, Telltale's The Walking Dead is an episodic choice-based narrative game set in the wake of a zombie apocalypse.

In the first season, you play as Lee, a convicted murderer who steps into the role of caretaker for a little girl named Clementine whose parents were out of town when the outbreak happened. Christa joins your group in the third episode alongside her partner Omid and appears in each of the remaining two.

Christa is a no-nonsense kind of woman. For the most part, it seems she would rather survive on her own than deal with others and entrust them with her safety, apart from Omid. Although she is standoffish, she does seem to care about Clem and is impressed with Lee's making sure that she can defend herself against the Walkers in an emergency.

We don't find out too much about her (a pattern, as we'll soon discuss), save for that she and Omid were on a cross-country road trip when the outbreak started.

Christa and Omid go with Lee's group to Savannah, but she is still on her guard, especially once Omid sustains an injury and Clem's supposedly broken walkie-talkie goes off.

From here on out, I can't really get into the nitty-gritty of today's post without massive spoilers for the first season of The Walking Dead and arguably less significant spoilers for the remainder of the games in the series so consider this a warning if you haven't experienced them for yourself.

Be  | Spoilers

Warned  | Ahead

Omid and Christa

Christa's Role In TWD

Christa and Omid join Lee's group about halfway through Episode 3 and don't have too strong of a presence compared to other secondary characters like Kenny or Ben.

Christa plays a somewhat larger role in the next episode, joining the group's mission to steal supplies from Crawford.

At the end of Season One's fourth episode, Lee is bitten by a walker shortly after Clementine goes missing. Depending on the player's choices and how much Christa and Omid trust Lee, they'll either go with him in search of Clem or stay behind.

In the case of the latter, the group will still be reunited later on and set out to find Clem once the abandoned house they were using for shelter becomes surrounded by walkers.

Ben dies either in Episode 4 or 5 depending on player choices. Kenny will either appear to sacrifice himself to put Ben out of his misery after a nearly-lethal fall leaves him unable to move and surrounded by walkers or put himself in harm's way to help Christa climb out of a hole and will subsequently disappear into the shadows as he fends off the hoard, again determined by player choice; regardless, this is the last we'll see of Kenny for now.

With the group down to just Lee, Christa, and Omid, Lee will ask them to hang back while he rescues Clem because he can't take the chance of their deaths now that they're the only ones who can look after Clem once he dies. He also mentions Christa's pregnancy, something that is vaguely hinted at but not openly spoken about until this moment.

They agree and do not appear for the rest of the episode.

In a post-credits scene, Clem is seen alone sometime after Lee's death. Two figures appear in the distance, presumably Omid and Christa.

Season Two begins with a time jump. Some months after the events of the first game, Clem is still with Christa and Omid who, as Lee wished, have become her new guardian figures. Christa is now more visibly pregnant.

Despite the circumstances, things seem to be going okay. Omid and Christa are cheerfully debating over potential baby names and reminiscing.

But this is The Walking Dead, so this peace is only ever fleeting.

At a pit stop restroom, Clem is cornered by another survivor. As he's coming to check on her, Omid is accidentally shot in the altercation. Christa is, as expected, devastated—even more so with the realization that the stranger used Clem's gun.

While she doesn't explicitly hold Clem responsible for Omid's death, one may reasonably assume there is some unspoken blame and resentment cast upon her.

The game then jumps another sixteen months. Christa and Clem are still surviving together, though their dynamic has certainly changed. It feels like Christa is looking out for Clem out of obligation at this point. She's irritated with Clem for not knowing how to take care of herself on her own; Clem, mind you, is only approximately twelve years old now. The warmth that had been between them is gone.

Additionally, Christa is no longer pregnant and there is no child to be seen. There is no discussion about the baby's fate, but we can assume Christa either had a miscarriage sometime in the wake of Omid's death or it was stillborn or died shortly after birth. No matter what happened, it's clear Christa has been through it.

She's gaunt and snippy with Clem. Her only focus now is surviving, and not in the sense of needing to look out for her loved ones. While she was no-nonsense previously, she's now bitter and cynical as she talks about seeking out Wellington, a settlement up north.

Christa sends Clem (and thus the player) off to find some firewood, at which she is ambushed. She will either tell Clem to run, or Clem will try to distract the attackers before fleeing the scene.

And that is the last we ever see of Christa for the remainder of The Walking Dead games.

Is The Uncertainty Of Christa A Problem?

Early exits and untimely ends aren't anything unusual for The Walking Dead. Doug and Carley can die in the first episode depending on player choice, and the other will be killed off in the third. Omid gets maybe five minutes of screen time in Season 2. Mariana is killed in the first episode of A New Frontier. Brody doesn't survive the first episode of Season 4. Even Lee, the first entry's protagonist doesn't survive to the end of his season.

But Christa's exit feels different. There's no closure. Unlike the vast majority of characters across all four seasons and the DLCs, whose fates are either definite or determined by player choice, Christa's remains a mystery.

She's not the only character whose ending is shrouded in ambiguity. Glenn leaves the group at the Motel to check on his loved ones in Atlanta and we never hear about him again (but if you're familiar with the comics or the AMC adaptation, you can take a swing at what happens to him—even though the games are a separate cannon). We don't find out what happens to Arvo or Mike. If Molly isn't separated from your group during the Crawford expedition, she declines the offer to join you on a long-term basis.

But each of these characters were brief encounters, whereas Christa was Clem's guardian figure for roughly two years—that's significantly longer than her time with Lee. For her to be unceremoniously chased off-screen as she is, it comes across as the writers not knowing what to do with her but needing to get her out of the way quickly so Clem can go off and join the new cast for Season Two.

Even though Clem will ask about Christa when arriving at a new spot in the hopes that someone has seen her, that's about it. It's kind of like the brief mention of Richmond in Season Four as a way to acknowledge A New Frontier happened without talking about it. That thread just gets brushed to the side. Sure, you can argue that Clem's given up hope when it comes to Christa being out there and alive, but that doesn't sit entirely right with me somehow.

Additionally, a couple of characters from Season One with seemingly unknown outcomes return throughout the series. Kenny is reunited with Clem in the second episode of Season Two and can appear in Season Three flashbacks depending on player choice. And Lilly, who either leaves the group and steals your RV or gets kicked out and left on the side of the road, becomes your main antagonist in Season Four.

Christa, however, is just gone.

It's kind of a letdown that continues to bug me even years after the final episode of Season Four came out.

And I'm not the only one's who's been stumped by this or looking for answers. You can find plenty of YouTube channels and forums discussing theories about Christa.

Even Melissa Hutchison, Clementine's voice actress, has said, "I would actually like to know myself what happened to Christa... I don't know. And I would love to know like the backstory with Clem and Christa and Omid..."

Some things are better left unanswered, but Christa's fate doesn't feel like one of them.

As a fun little thought exercise, I've decided to join in on the fun and share some alternative endings I've come up with for Christa. Some are perhaps more plausible than others, but each has potential in its own right.

Feel free to jump into the comments and let me know which is your favorite or share your own theories!

Option One—Christa Is Dead

This is obviously not the most fun possibility, but it feels the most likely given what we do know about Christa's last moments on-screen.

Christa is outnumbered with guns drawn on her. If the player chooses to sneak away, Christa appears to be stabbed by one of the scavengers.

We hear a bit of fighting as Clem runs off and a gunshot soon follows.

It's somewhat reminiscent of Chuck's last moments, being surrounded as he fends off Walkers in order to give Lee and co. more time to find shelter. Chuck is later found dead. Christa is not only trying to defend herself but is giving Clem a chance to escape.

In this first scenario, Christa's fate would be determined by player actions. If you leave, Christa is indeed shot and Clem would come across her body the way Lee finds Chuck's in the sewers, likely in the same scene as she finds the scavenger who stole her belongings. If you attempt to distract the scavengers, Christa seems to have gotten away before being bitten and turning. Later on, when Clem finds the dying scavenger, Christa appears as a walker, and Clem has the option to put her down or leave her be (which would mirror AJ having the option to put down an undead Tenn or leave him to roam the woods).

Option Two—Christa Is At Wellington

Throughout Season 2, there's talk of a settlement up north known as Wellington, but it's often spoken of like Shangri-La. A myth they desperately hope is true.

Christa brings it up while she and Clem are sitting beside the campfire, and it becomes a point of conflict between Jane and Kenny later on.

Even though we don't have a lot of time with Christa, we know Wellington is a concrete plan for her despite her hesitation towards joining groups; in all fairness, she may in part also be looking for a way to put someone else in charge of Clem after Omid's death without feeling guilty about it and an established settlement would be a viable option in such a case. I don't think Christa would abandon Clem at Wellington, per se, since they've been surviving together for so long, but entrusting her care to someone else for a while might give Christa a chance to safely grieve the loss of Omid and her child (which I'm guessing would be incredibly hard to do when you're constantly on the lookout for zombies and trying to not die on a daily basis, all while raising a pre-teen).

The Walking Dead Season Two has multiple endings, one of which sees Clem reaching Wellington with Kenny and baby AJ. Once at the gates, they are turned away because the settlement isn't accepting new members. Kenny will plead with the guard to just take the kids, and he'll move on by himself. Players then have the option to enter Wellington or leave with Kenny.

I see Christa appearing at Wellington if certain conditions are met. Firstly, Clem needs to choose to save Kenny over Jane and stay with him instead of going her on her own with AJ, as that's how the Wellington ending is unlocked in canon. Secondly, Clem needs to enter Wellington with AJ and part ways with Kenny (sorry, Kenny fans).

Once the gates close behind Clem and AJ, we see some Wellington staff approach to get them settled in. Christa is among them and bursts from the crowd to hug Clem in a tearful reunion. She then apologizes for any harsh words between them and is just glad Clem is okay.

This feels like a fitting conclusion for Christa's story in Season Two because it wraps up the Wellington thread that begins with Christa early on, as well as Clem asking about Christa whenever she arrives at a new location. It also feels plausible because with how often they've likely talked about Wellington in those sixteen months after Omid was killed, Christa may assume that's where Clem would try to go if they got separated. Overall, this feels like a happier ending for Christa in Season Two.

Additionally, like Jane and Kenny, Christa would appear in Clem's flashbacks during A New Frontier and would be killed in the Wellington raid; this is likely how things would go based on the other flashbacks, in which either Jane takes her own life after discovering she's pregnant or Kenny dies after a car accident. There could also be a second flashback in a later episode where she and Clem are seen talking about Omid and Lee while playing with AJ, suggesting they've had a chance to patch things up.

But what if Christa, like Kenny and Lilly, came back in a later season?

Option Three—Christa Joins The Delta

Ahead of Season Four, there was some speculation as to any potential characters from Season One coming back, the most theories appearing to be about Lilly and Christa. And from what I can gather, it seems both characters were contenders in the writer's room.

As we now know, Lilly won out and comes back as a leader of The Delta, a rival gang that forces kids to become soldiers. And if we're talking about who would be the better fit for an antagonist in this circumstance, it would definitely be Lilly over Christa.

Lilly's father was a veteran who raised her strictly based on what she tells us, and she worked on an Air Force base prior to the outbreak. Once Lee's group settled at the Motor Inn, she takes over as leader, managing rations in a way that is reminiscent of a dictatorship because, as far as we might surmise, that's how she believes the group is most likely to survive. She takes this too far, eventually shooting either Carley or Doug when accused of stealing supplies.

The Delta seems like someplace Lilly would fit in with all too well. She's ruthless and wouldn't be afraid to do whatever it took to maintain control of the group (eg, getting Minerva to turn against Sophie) and kill whoever stood in their way.

I don't see Christa in that same position. I can't see her forcing children into violence. Christa is a survivor, but she did so in partnership with her group, whether that was Omid, Lee, or Clementine.

Option Four—Christa And The New Frontier

This is personally my favorite alternative ending for Christa from a writing perspective.

In Season Three, A New Frontier, you play primarily as Javier Garcia who's been with his brother's kids and their stepmom since the outbreak happened. Clem eventually joins them, even though she's only after their van.

The group ends up at a settlement called Richmond and, much to his shock, Javier's brother David is among their leadership.

Like the Delta, Richmond is militaristic in nature but more like a democracy in how it's run. While Lilly seems to be the one in charge of the Delta (or at least in charge of a squadron), Richmond is overseen by a group.

And in another universe, I could see Christa being among their ranks.

We see Christa taking a leadership role within Lee's group alongside him and Kenny, and she's also the one who takes the initiative to cut off Lee's bitten arm in an effort to stop the infection from spreading through his body (if the player so chooses).

In my head, I see Christa making it to Wellington after being separated from but being turned away like Kenny and Clem are, but maybe one of the guards mentions Richmond as an alternative so she heads there. This would've happened after Clem gets kicked out of The New Frontier.

Christa would likely befriend Ava first because they're similar in personality and eventually be promoted to a leadership role.

Christa being part of The New Frontier also adds another layer to the story. Having her be revealed as a member of the group alongside David would create an intriguing parallel between Clem and Javier, as both would have a loved one they'd been separated from in this new, potentially antagonistic group and maybe trying to rebuild that relationship.

Additionally, rather than having to choose between Ava and Tripp, I could see having to choose between either Ava and Christa. Although you're playing as Javier for the third game, you have that history with Clem (and Christa by extension in this hypothetical). That could make for some interesting internal conflict for players! Also, Clem also has a history with both Christa and Ava, which adds another complex layer to this choice.

As far as what happens to Christa if she's part of The New Frontier, I feel this would be determined by player choice but also more conclusive than the ending we got in canon.

Like I mentioned above, Christa could be swapped for Tripp and murdered by Joan depending on who Javier and the player want to save. That's option one.

In the last chapter, Javier must decide whether to go find Gabe and David or help Kate seal up a hole in the walls at Richmond after it becomes overrun; whoever you don't choose dies, (though Gabe's fate depends on Clem flashback choices, too). Given the hypothetical situation, I imagine Christa going with Kate after Richmond becomes overrun so if Javier chooses David and Gabe, Christa would be bitten and turn along with Kate. You'd still have the option to shoot zombie-Kate or leave her be, and Clem how would deal with zombie-Christa would depend on your choices in her flashbacks.

If Christa does survive, I think she stays behind with Javier rather than going off with Clem. For one thing, she would have developed this sense of community towards Richmond and might feel like she has a responsibility to them (especially when Joan and Ava die and if other key players like David don't survive). Plus she also knows now that Clem can survive on her own, something she was worried about at the start of Season Two, and she'd mention that's because of Lee's guidance along with help from others. And, like Javier, she'd let Clem know she's always welcome back in Richmond.

You aren't always going to get a goodbye or have that closure we often desire so desperately. Sometimes, you just never find out what happens to someone after you part ways. How many people do you still talk to from elementary school or your first job, or even an acquaintance you met only once but had a memorable conversation with? Do you ever wonder what became of them?

In a sense, ambiguity adds a layer of realness to stories like The Walking Dead. When the stakes are literally life and death and threats seem to be lurking around every corner, there's no chance of knowing what the future holds for anyone.

But that's the thing. The Walking Dead is a work of fiction. We usually get those answers. We reunite with Kenny after he's separated from the group. But sometimes, as it was with Arvo and Mike, we're simply made to wonder. And for the most part, that's okay. We accept it and move on.

Christa is a different matter. And in writing this post and dreaming up these alternative endings, the canon ending only vexes me more. After the role she played in Clem's story, she deserved a better fate beyond a hasty question mark.

With the revived Telltale fighting to stay afloat rumors of a new game set within the universe of The Walking Dead, there's still hope that Christa's story has at least another chapter left to tell. Even if we get a Chuck-like ending and find her remains after the fact, at least Clem (and the game's fanbase) may one day be able to put that question to rest.



bottom of page