It finally happened! The Walking Dead has cast Negan. The iconic villain role will be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a guest star in the The Walking Dead Season 6 finale. He will then become a series regular in The Walking Dead Season 7. The character was first introduced in Robert Kirkman's comic book upon which the AMC series is based. He has a long and storied history in the pages of the comic. And he quickly became a fan favorite, one that audiences have been clamoring for ever since the show was launched in 2010.
The casting search for Negan was an extensive one. And last week, it was believed that Garret Dillahunt had walked away with the role. Though, that actor may still be involved with the series somehow. Negan will be the show's next major villain. And he is known as an F-bomb dropping, dastardly presence. Warning. There will be SPOILERS throughout the rest of this series. He will first be introduced in The Walking Dead Season 6 finale to be directed by producer and KNB Effects guru Greg Nicotero.
In the comic books, Negan is the leader of a violent group known as the Saviors. They use force to take over survivor communities. And they will invade Alexandria in the finale. The character was originally introduced in the landmark 100th issue of the comic book. In that story, Negan comes face-to-face with Rick Grimes, who has heard of Negan. Rick wants to stop this leader and his wily men from taking supplies in exchange for protection from Walkers. The character is way more deadly than The Governor, who was a major force in The Walking Dead Season 3.
The character went through the casting process under the guise of 'Orin'. He has remained the primary villain in the comics ever since he killed Glenn with his iconic weapon, a baseball bat named Lucille, which is wrapped in barbed wire. Negan is known to carry this bat at all times. And as of issue 145 of the comic book, Negan is still alive. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is just one of many actors said to have tested for the part. Such heavy hitters as Timothy Olyphant and Matt Dillon were also targeted for this heavy weight in the world of The Walking Dead.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan will assume the role of Negan this week as production on the series finale begins in Atlanta. Tom Payne was cast as comics character Paul Monroe, aka "Jesus," earlier this year. Jesus becomes a key member of the Alexandria community just before the war against Negan breaks out. About bringing Negan into the mix, Showrunner Scott M. Gimple explained to THR that it is going to be a challenge to bring Negan to the small screen, especially because of his love of foul language. Here's what he had to say about establishing the villain.
"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."
One of the show's biggest ongoing mysteries is what actually happened to Glenn. Is he alive or dead? The series showed him landing in a sea of walkers, where they apparently tore out his guts. But some speculate he is still alive. His 'death scene' has upset some fans, as they wanted to see Glenn die at the hands of Negan, a scene that has been teased throughout the series. But that moment may still happen, which would give us two Glenn deaths for the price of one. About that, Gimple had this to say.
"That's one of those questions that any way that I answer could spoil five different parts of the story. But I hope to show you. We will be showing it. You will be learning the answer to that question as you watch. If I were to answer it now, I would wind up revealing all sorts of stuff from different directions. The lame way of saying it is: You'll have to see."
Jeffrey Dean Morgan comes into The Walking Dead already a veteran of popular episodic TV. Diehard fantasy television fans know him best as Sam and Dean Winchester's dad John Winchester on Supernatural. He is currently a series regular on CBS' The Good Wife. And he starred opposite Halle Berry on the limited summer series Extant. He also had a memorable arc on Grey's Anatomy. On the feature side of things, he played The Comedian in the DC comics adaptation Watchmen and has a cameo role as Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's dad, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So, what do you think? Is this the best choice for Negan?