If you’re watching The Walking Dead on AMC right now and believe that the situation Rick and the Alexandrians are in couldn’t get any worse, buckle up. It was revealed today that Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been cast as Negan (pronounced KNEE-gan), the most feared villain from comics the series is based on. Zombies will be the least of Rick’s worries as fans of The Walking Dead will soon come to find out. Looking back, The Governor will seem like a drunk frat boy who lost a game of beer pong compared to the nightmare Negan will bestow upon our group.
It has not been confirmed, but The Hollywood Reporter suggests that we’ll be introduced to the maniacal leader of “The Saviors” – his group of post-apocalyptic survivors – in the Season 6 finale. With the addition of Negan also comes “Lucille,” his barbed wire bat that has made the acquaintance of many of Rick’s group, including one major character in particular.
I’m very excited for Jeffrey Dean Morgan to play Negan. Rumors swirled around that Jon Hamm was in talks for the role, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan has more gruff features that better suit the needs of the character as well as a filmography that has dealt with such grim subject matter. Jeffrey dean Morgan is probably best known for his portrayal of The Comedian in Zack Snyder’s adaptation of The Watchmen. He has also appeared in CBS’s The Good Wife and Extant, and he will also have a small role in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce Wayne.
Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, told THR last season that he wouldn’t be surprised if fans of The Walking Dead didn’t meet Negan at some point in the not so distant future. He also goes on to say:
“What struck me, that I’ve always been excited about, is: We’re coming into the sixth season of this show. … And it’s the medieval part of The Walking Dead comic, where you realize that there are these isolated communities, but don’t really know other ones exist. But they’re all building and forming themselves with their own image. And then there’s a clash of those communities. That, to me, is really interesting and when it gets really exciting with all the action. It turns into this insane, near-apocalyptic landscape that we’ve never seen before. That is almost a reimagining and a restart for society and humanity. And that is such a rich thing to tell.”
Lincoln is not only referring to Alexandria, but also the Hilltop, a community that has been under the “protection” of The Saviors who demand half of the Hilltop’s supplies at certain times of the year. One Hilltop community member has also been cast, Jesus, played by Tom Payne (Luck; Waterloo Road; Wuthering Heights). Jesus is a key member of the Hilltop who performs similar duties as Aaron, scouting and recruiting local talent. He becomes a welcomed ally and friend to Rick down the line.
As a reader and fan of the comic, Negan will be quite the challenge to portray on the small screen. Not only is he a violent psychopath, he also seeks to liberate English language barriers one F-bomb at a time. (It’s almost too funny that the show can depict someone getting their throat slit like they did in Terminus, but will find difficulty dancing around a four letter word.)
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple also spoke to THR recently about how they seek to approach the character:
“There’s a particular story in that arc that I’m very excited for. But because we know where we’re going, we have some opportunities to play around with it and put some things in that will lead up to [Negan and Alexandria] in different ways, yet fulfill the story Robert told to the nth degree by utilizing some slightly different approaches: lineups and timelines and the whole nine yards.”
Are regular TV audiences ready for Negan or will his actions be too vicious to depict on the small screen?
The Walking Dead is currently running through the first half of Season 6. The second half typically picks back up around the second weekend of February, which falls on Valentine’s Day next year – a perfect day for red.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter