- —Rafael's last words to David.
Rafael Rodrigo Machado is a main character featured in The Walking Dead: Return to Woodbury. He is described to be a young, loyal and stalwart prisoner with a Brazilian background.
Rafael was a soldier, a drug dealer and a pilot working for the biggest cartels in USA. Rafael never considered himself an outlaw or a "junkie", he thought of himself as a delivery man and that he was above everyone else in the cartel.
Sometime before the outbreak, he was imprisoned for ten years for not wanting to snitch on the cartels.
Ile De La Lumiére
Since the outbreak, Rafael had stayed in a prison located in a island near Cuba due to his sentence for five years, only surviving by eating potatoes, drinking rainwater and having a little hope for the future. After the years passed, he is forced to leave the island as a storm hits. As a former pilot, he barely manages to escape the flood with an arsenal of weapons on an abandoned helicopter. Rafael almost manages to get to the States, but his ride runs out of gas, making it drop in to the water and sink. Rafael barely makes it out with the guns and swims to the mainland.
Rafael encounters the dead, or "hungries" as he prefers to call them, not knowing how they exactly can be killed. He then discovers how, although he heard prison guards yell "only the head" during the early days of the outbreak. This makes him one of the only people still not aware of how to kill a walker.
Rafael encounters David Stern, and saves his life from walkers. The two establish a friendship, and later on discover Norma's body on a draft. They save her life and continue their journey to Woodbury, where they eventually run into Spencer-Lee Dryden.
In an attempt to save David's life, Rafael is shot by Spencer-Lee who hangs his body on a crane. Rafael then reanimates as a zombie. It is unknown whether he was put down later on.
The two established a great relationship within a week. They got along even though they had somewhat a language barrier. David appreciated Rafael for saving his life after Spencer-Lee kills the young man, which makes him furious.
Norma and Rafael share a little conversation, and Rafael trusted her since she was a fellow survivor of David.
Rafael spent a lot of time during his childhood with his aunt, Anita. Anita took him in to a road trip across USA, and also taught him English. They had a good relationship.
Ramon might have been Rafael's co-worker at the cartel. Their relationship is unknown.
- Rafael is one of the few characters encountered in The Walking Dead who is not American.