Warning: Major comic-book and television spoilers ahead
Well, folks, in just over 24 hours, THE most talked-about moment in The Walking Dead fandom for the better part of a year will have finally arrived. The Hilltop’s “boogeyman” and perhaps one of the most-anticipated characters in the history of television will come out of the shadows and likely change the landscape of TV’s #1 series forever.
If you’re a comic-book reader like myself, you know exactly who Negan is and are probably doing back-flips about now. But, for the general audience, you may be wondering, “Who in the f*ck is Negan?!”. In fact, you may have believed the hints that Negan may not be real at all and just some myth or legend used by this group, the Saviors, to garner fear into everyone they meet. But, no, Negan is very real, and tomorrow night, you will get a whirlwind introduction to one of the biggest villains you will ever encounter on television. And, for those who absolutely cannot wait, check out my below “Negan Primer” that will tell you all you need to know about this character and why you should be super-f*cking excited about his arrival.
1. His name is pronounced KNEE-gan
#1 rule as we embark on this iconic arc in The Walking Dead comics — get the guy’s damn name right. If you have never read the comics, you may be inclined to pronounce as you would “Megan,” but doing so will get you only a bunch of rolling eyes.
2. He is THE super-villain of the series
A show of hands — how many of you thought The Governor was bad and the worst of the worse? Yeah, well, I did too, but honestly, Negan makes the Governor look like Big Bird on roller skates. If you recall, while the Governor had been classified as a villain, for the most part the people of Woodbury liked him. Remember all the praise Milton, Merle, and just about every other resident of Woodbury gave him? Well, I can guarantee you none of Negan’s followers will have anything good to say about this man.
And, we kind of have already seen this. Remember Dwight, Honey and Tina sitting around the fire talking while Daryl was in and out of consciousness in “Always Accountable”? Well, Dwight said “Yeah, they probably hate him too” referring to the men that were chasing them. We weren’t really told, per se, but most people assume these people are the Saviors and the “him” that everyone hates is Negan. Honestly, you have to be the devil if your own people can’t stand the sight of you.
3. He’s the leader of The Saviors
The Saviors are a group of violent survivors based at a place called The Sanctuary, which is in the same general area as the Alexandria Safe-Zone, The Hilltop Colony and The Kingdom, which are survivor communities in the Washington, D.C. region. The Saviors rule by fear, where they demand supplies and rations in exchange for “protection” from attacks by their own group.
4. He kills Glenn in his first meeting with Rick
In the comics before we meet Negan, Rick kills some members of the Saviors when they ambush him and demand supplies. Negan later sneaks up on Rick’s group and gets revenge for the Saviors that were killed. He gives a speech and plays a sick game of eenie-meenie-miney-mo to select whom to kill in retaliation, and our beloved Glenn draws the short straw. He bashes Glenn’s head in with his weapon of choice, a bat wrapped in barb-wire that he calls his “Sweet Lucille,” and he cruelly does it in front of Rick, Maggie, Glenn and Maggie’s adoptive daughter, Sophia, and several others. Rick vows to avenge Glenn’s death, which ultimately leads up to the “All Out War” arc in the comics.
Most believe this is the scene that will go down in the final moments of tomorrow’s season 6 finale, with the only question being will they follow the comics and our poor Glenn will run out of his 9 lives and meet his end for real this time? This is a question that has been debated since Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s casting announcement back in November, and honestly, you can give yourself a migraine if you think about it too much. While I still think Glenn will be the one who meets Lucille (especially after that ridiculous fakeout dumpster death earlier in the season), the fact is you can make an argument for ANY of the main characters — and yes, even Daryl!
5. He’s not a ruthless killer and does have a code
No, seriously. I know, I know he kills Glenn, but this isn’t something Negan goes around doing everyday. While Negan is by all means cruel, sadistic and just plain evil, he’s not really a cold-blooded killer. Yes, if you pose a big threat or even worse, if you kill any of his men, he will track you down and kill you just as we saw with Glenn (and honestly, if someone killed 30+ of my people, and I didn’t do a damn thing to them, I’d do exactly what Negan does). However, for the most part, he doesn’t just randomly kill people.
What’s more, he may actually spare you if you have qualities that he admires. Negan values loyalty and courage, among other things, and if you exhibit these, it may very well save your life. He does this with Carl, sparing his life even after Carl gunned down several of the Saviors and solely because Carl showed him that he was strong and brave, unlike the spineless, piece of sh*t father of his.
On the flipside, in the comics when Spencer Monroe later tries to recruit Negan to help him overthrow Rick as leader of Alexandria so that he can take Rick’s place, Negan doesn’t take too kindly to this request. He sees Spencer as just a coward who’s trying to get him to do his dirty work and doesn’t hesitate to disembowel and kill him right on the spot.
6. He loves to swear
Need I say more? And, this excerpt from the comics is on a good day. Obviously Negan loves to drop the F-bomb, and it’ll be interesting to see how AMC deals with this unique aspect of the character.
7. He takes multiple wives
You would think someone like Negan might be a rapist, right? Nope, not him. As another part of this very complex character, Negan instead takes multiple wives, and they are usually the wives of his very own men. Basically, if Negan decides he wants your wife, you better let him have her, because if you don’t, you’ll pay the consequences. What’s more, if the wife tries to return to her lawful husband, Negan will strike back by ironing the face of the husband as punishment. Remember Dwight’s burnt face? Well, now you know how and why he got it.
This attitude is also exemplified in the episode “Always Accountable” when Wade comments that “he likes only willing ass.”
8. Negan is still alive in the comics
The comics are currently at issue #152, and the Lucille death occurs in issue #100. Yet, Negan is still very much alive, which should tell you that this isn’t going to be just another encounter Rick’s group has with a group of bad people, and the entire thing will be over and Negan dead in 3 episodes. To be blunt, Rick f*cked up big-time and launched an attack on an enemy that he knew very little about and most certainly did not understand. By the time season 7 rolls around, Rick will find out that Negan has hundreds — yes, I said **hundreds** — of people working for him, and that he just may have started a war that he cannot win.
Obviously, the show’s narrative may take a completely different path than what we know from the comics. But no matter what happens, Negan is more than just a new Governor or a new Gareth. He also represents a force that will change everything in our survivors’ world. Mostly for the worst, but some for the better. Either way, the audience wins.
So, get ready, everyone, and batter up.
The Walking Dead 90-minute season 6 finale airs Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
Geeky computer and math nerd by day and TV fanatic by night. My beats are The Walking Dead, The Strain, Person of Interest, Z Nation, and anything that most people would call freaky. Editor-In-Chief and Lead Writer of TVGeekTalk.com