A bad man named Negan has just been introduced on The Walking Dead. Consider this “Negan 101” for those of you who have no idea just how big a deal that is.
If you watched The Walking Dead‘s midseason finale you heard a name that, if you are a fan of the comics, put a chill down your spine. A character so vile, he would make the sickest cast members of Game of Thrones run in the other direction. A man so insane, you know that once he is introduced on the show, all bets are off.
If you had any belief that anyone was safe in that world, let go if it now. Negan is less than a man and more a force of nature. A presence you feel before you even see, and his wrath involves a particularly nasty weapon.
Negan is the perfect reflection that in the world of The Walking Dead the zombies are the smallest threats of all. It is the humans who are the real monsters, and no one in that world is quite as monstrous as Negan. Negan WILL change the Walking Dead forever, starting now.
So buckle yourselves in now, kids, because you are about the meet the apocalypse’s first real monster. The guy who makes the governor look like someone you would WANT to live with. Keep in mind, I will tell you a lot about Negan and the impact he MAY have on the forthcoming season, but I’ll avoid specific spoilers so as to not ruin any nasty surprises he may have up his sleeve.
So Who Is Negan?
Negan is the leader of the Saviors, a ragtag group of survivors who seem to run about 50 people deep (which, during the apocalypse, is a huge number). The thing that sets Negan apart from most groups of survivors is that Negan doesn’t run his group like the others do.
Think about the survivors of Alexandria for a moment. They survive by banding together to make the community stronger and ensure it works and survives. Negan takes the Hitler approach. He forces his rules on the people, and when they don’t follow him, he kills them or has them kill each other or various other awful things. He is a bully and a tyrant, and sadly, up until meeting up with Rick’s crew, not too many people dare stand in opposition to him.
So you can only imagine how well it goes for our core group when they do.
One of the most menacing things about Negan is his “girl” Lucille. Negan carries a baseball bat that is wrapped in barbed wire. That may sound pretty basic, but when you see they way Negan wields it, it is easy to see why Negan will change The Walking Dead forever.
You see, Negan and Lucille have a very special relationship. Even when he doesn’t have the bat on him, someone else will carry it the same way you would carry a newborn. He even asks when someone hands her back if that person treated Lucille right. Yes, that is the kind of mind we are working with here. Negan is no joke. He is the worst parts of every horrible bad guy from all of fiction, screwed and melted and jammed together into one nasty soul. And keep in mind, Lucille does not get bored.Oh no, he keeps her busy.
Which leads to our next point….
Someone We Love Will Get Their Brains Bashed In (and Perhaps More Than Just One)
Though I shall refrain from telling you how the first meeting with Negan goes in the comic book, I will tell you this. What happened was so shocking and upsetting to me as a fan, I put the comic down for a few months. For real. Negan does something SO upsetting, I had to walk away from a comic book that I was over 100 issues into at that point. It was that depressing.
BUT, you all need to understand that when I say Negan will change The Walking Dead forever, I mean it. He does not come in and bake cookies with Carol. He does not come in and become hunting buddies with Daryl. No, he comes in and lets the group know, he IS the boss of this new world, and anyone who opposes that will die brutally and probably in front of people they love.
While it could be said the Governor was an awesome and insane bad guy on the show, Negan makes him look like a NickToons character. There is some speculation that Negan’s intro will go same as comic, and there is also some buzz he is going to take someone (maybe even more than one someone) out differently how it was written.
Regardless, if they use the same scene and the method of execution (Lucille), no matter who it is, this is really gonna screw with some people’s heads.
Long Term Changes
So what does Negan’s presence say long term for The Walking Dead? That is the best part. Even people who have read every issue of the comics, including the one that came out this month, cannot tell you. Not because they will ruin it, but because the show just works differently than the comics. They’re based AROUND the comics, but with enough small things changed every time that none of us can be sure we know how it will all culminate.
I can tell you this about some of the long term changes, though, as it does seem the show is setting some of them up. We all know the people of Alexandria are survivors. We now also know the Saviors are a group of survivors (though very much raiders and rapists and killers). We also know that the character of Jesus has been cast on the show. In the comic, Jesus is from a third group of survivors (who are a lot more friendly than Negan). What this all ends up leading to is, as you can imagine (and very much like the real world now), these factions face off and have a war.
Yes, an all out war.
Think about how heavy that is. In a time when humanity could possibly band together and end this threat, we become monsters and engage in a war with other humans. Nuts, huh? But yes, that is where it all goes in the book, and that is where it seems like it might be going with Alexandria and the other people.
A question: Are The Wolves and the Saviors going to be the same? We don’t know yet, but from what I have seen, the people who took Daryl’s group’s weapons had no W’s on their heads, so that tells you maybe not. Sadly, questions only raise more questions at this point.
So What About The Dude With The Pet Tiger?
Wait, what? Yes, there is a moment in the comic when Rick’s group finds another group of survivors who are living well. But their system is run more like a kingdom. And at the head of that kingdom is an African American badass named Ezekial who just happens to have a pet tiger. This is a very tough moment for many, because a guy who runs a “kingdom” and has a pet tiger in the zombie apocalypse is a LITTLE forced and feels a bit TOO Game of Thrones. Also feels a little like a SHARK JUMP moment, even though the comic continued to kick-ass and he was actually a really cool character.
What I can say confidently is that do not expect to see this dude on the show. Something about a dude with a pet tiger during a zombie apocalypse just probably wouldn’t work as well on TV as it does in comic (and even in comic, that part was a bit of a stretch for some).
But do expect lots more death since Negan is stomping onto the scene. And don’t be surprised if it culminates in an all out war, just like the comic. Also, make your peace with the group right now, because one or two of them are, without a doubt, being killed by Negan.
Now we just have to wait to find out who...