In “The Walking Dead” comic books, the main characters and their crew come across opposing groups of different levels of demented, ranging from the iron fist of the Governor to some savage cannibals. However, none of the comic book’s antagonist are as powerful and imposing as Negan.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Watchmen”) was cast as Negan in 2015 and assumed the role for the shows sixth season finale, completely hijacking the final moments of the episode with a menacing performance before taking the life of an as-yet-to-be-revealed character (or characters). Morgan believes he’ll be even scarier in Season 7.
“So what we’ve created is very disarming,” said Morgan in Entertainment Weekly. “I think there is this f—ing charm and devil may care, but you’re going to do it my way. But he does it with a smile. But when that violence comes, there is no doubting what this guy is going to do and how he’s going to do it, and I think we’ve established that very early on, that at any given moment you can die in front of Negan. What I hope is that it does make it scarier.”
Morgan continued, teasing what’s coming up in the show when it returns this fall. “I think after the premiere airs this year, I think the audience is going to get a very good idea of what Negan is capable of. So if there’s a scene where he’s smiling and people are like, ‘What the f—? He’s not a badass.’ Well, just watch, because at any given minute, you know, Lucille is going to take your f—ing head off and he’s going to do it with that same smile. That’s the thing.”
The “charm” Morgan refers to largely comes from Negan’s perspective that he is serving as a necessary evil to maintain order. He believes himself to be quite benevolent and a lot better than other evils in the “Walking Dead” world — as long as you follow his rules. He leads The Saviors while maintaining a trade/protection relationship with the Hilltop, The Kingdom, and Rick’s group in Alexandria — a relationship that begins to deteriorate swiftly with Rick’s group added to the equation.
Michael Cudlitz, the actor playing Abraham in the show, even went so far as to compare Negan to Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Cudlitz considers them to both to be loose cannons with Rick more akin to Hilary Clinton with a bend-but-don’t-break attitude.
“The Walking Dead” returns to AMC for its seventh season on October 23rd.
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