The Walking Dead's seventh and eight seasons had a rather slow-moving storyline concerning the faction of the Saviors, who were ruled by Negan, a man with the belief system that people were merely a resource. Meanwhile, Rick sought to oppose Negan with his own ideology, and this angle was based on the two locking horns.
Over the course of their long rivalry, both men made more than several claims and promises, whose result we’ve now seen come to pass due to the show jumping forward almost a whole decade. While Negan was the villain, he was actually right about a fair amount of things he promised, although Rick himself wasn’t in the wrong either. Here are five times when each character was right.
10 Negan: Rick Wouldn't Kill Him
As far as promises go, Rick usually keeps his end of the stick (the Terminus group learned this the hard way) but he was never able to make good on his promise of being the one to kill Negan.
While he did get close to killing Negan in the Season 8 finale, he couldn’t go through with it, making Negan’s own claim of Rick failing to kill him the scenario that happened. Sure, they never became friends or anything, but in the end we still have Negan alive and well, and now with access to a certain level of freedom.
9 Rick: Forced Rule Isn't The Only Way
Negan told Rick’s group that their new world would be one where they were under his ruling, and argued that a forced rule is the only one that works in The Walking Dead universe. He did have an impressive system going for him, whereas many as three communities reported to him.
However, Rick’s defeat of Negan paved the way for the Coalition, where the communities have now banded together to have the freedom that Negan never allowed them. It took a long time, but living without being forced to survive wasn’t the way, and Rick proved that.
8 Negan: The Saviors Needing A Leader
Unfortunately, Rick wasn’t right about letting the Saviors go free, as it turned out these guys were just as rotten as Negan treated them. It was due to the remaining Saviors making trouble that Rick went missing eventually, and the future has seen the Saviors having ended.
The ones that didn’t join the Coalition became bandits, who were taken out by Carol. To this end, it appears that Negan was right to keep these people in line, considering all they knew was to function under fear.
7 Rick: Carl's Vision Would Come True
Before his death, Carl wrote letters to both Rick and Negan, both of which contained his plea for them to stop fighting and have a better future. We saw a vision Carl had of a positive future, where Negan had been integrated as part of the community. He was right in the end, and so was Rick.
During their final confrontation, Negan chastised Rick for believing Carl, saying that Carl didn’t know anything because Rick and Negan were inevitably locked in a fight to the death. However, Rick chose to see his son’s point of view, leading to the Coalition creating a more peaceful existence.
6 Negan: Nobody Sees Themselves As The Villain
The fact of the matter is that Rick and company were the ones who fired the first shot at Negan, as they infiltrated the Saviors’ outpost and brutally slayed them just for supplies from the Hilltop.
Negan was right in saying that, from his point of view, it was Rick and his friends who were the bad guys because they themselves had done horrible things. Negan didn’t even kill these people unless he was provoked, meaning he didn’t have as much blood on his hands as Rick did.
5 Rick: A Thriving Future
Rick took to visiting Negan in his cell for some reason, with the implication that he wanted to see Negan be rehabilitated to some extent, but these moments would usually lead to arguments. One of these was Negan claiming Rick was just wasting his time bringing the communities together.
As we know, the future has seen these communities indeed thrive, to the point that civilization is basically back to where it should be. In the end, all the effort Rick put in diffusing tension between the people and creating new ways for contact paid off, and Negan himself is reaping the benefits from those efforts.
4 Negan: That He Would Have A Connection With Judith
Rick did all he could to keep Negan from knowing of Judith’s existence, with the latter coming to this knowledge quite late. When he did find out about her, he instantly took to having an affection for Judith.
The idea that the viewer got at the time was that Negan was just doing it to antagonize Rick, but it was a genuine liking on Negan’s part, which has now led to Judith viewing him as perhaps her closest friend. Rick wasn’t able to keep Negan away from Judith as he wanted to, but maybe this is something we should be glad Negan was right about.
3 Rick: That Humans Became The Walking Dead
This philosophy was birthed in Rick’s mind before he met Negan, but it’s still a part of the mindset that lives in the characters of the universe. It was about doing whatever it took to survive, and to become like the undead in some ways by putting personal survival before reason.
In some ways, Rick evolved further from this thinking into caring about communities at large, but we’ve seen antagonists like the Whisperers now - who have taken this kind of philosophy to the heart and now live like the dead.
2 Negan: Rick Was Getting The World Ready For Him
Negan was both right and wrong in this regard, as he believed he would be in a position of power once more someday, but it turned out the world did need him. As seen in the Season 9 finale, Negan does have his uses, and the comics even had him be the one to kill Alpha.
We don’t know for sure if the TV show will follow through with the same angle, but it’s clear that Negan is a vital part of The Walking Dead universe, with the Alexandrians definitely needing this man to have their backs. Had Rick not set the foundations for society to coexist, then Negan wouldn’t have been able to reintegrate himself.
1 Rick: Keeping Negan Alive
As mentioned above, Negan has proven his usefulness by now, but we’ll be pointing toward specifically the case of him saving Judith’s life in the Season 9 finale. Although chances are that Rick will never see Judith again, he would’ve been over the moon to know that he made the right decision not letting Negan bleed out that day.
Had Negan not lived, then Judith would have ventured out in the freezing cold almost a decade later and perished. He was slammed for making the decision to let Negan live by the likes of Maggie and Daryl, but it paid off so long into the future as Negan rescued Rick’s daughter.