Potential spoilers for Negan's character in Season 7 and beyond:
Like a baseball bat to the head, it's important to ram home to fans of #TheWalkingDead that Negan isn't leaving us anytime soon. Die-hard comic book readers are already aware that the twisted villain hasn't met his maker yet in the source material, but there was always a chance that Negan's TV counterpart could be killed off at the end of this arc. After all, this wouldn't be the first time that The Walking Dead has veered from its comic book origins.
However, in an interview with Rich Eisen, Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirmed that his character won't be another seasonal Big Bad, like the Governor. When asked about the origins of Negan and Lucille, Morgan revealed that their back story won't be unveiled anytime soon, but that we could see a flashback episode next season:
"There's not going to be a Negan flashback this year, but I think that there's time... moving forward, that's something I'd love to do, for sure."
Typically, we'd expect Rick Grimes to rise up and eventually exact his revenge on Negan for murdering Abe and Glenn in the season premiere — but if the comics are anything to go by, things could play out in a completely different way. After all, Negan may be a twisted murderer, but in a zombie apocalypse, it must be tempting to side with the alpha male over Rick, who's more broken than ever before.
What's Next For Negan And Lucille?
While it must be emphasized again that The Walking Dead doesn't follow the source material to the letter, the Season 7 premiere stood as a stark and grisly reminder that many of the stories from the comics provide inspiration for the show.
Did Rick and Negan ever flirt in the comics as much as they do in the clip below?:
With that in mind, let's take a look at Negan's arc in the comics and see where his character could go next. Spoiler alert; it ain't pretty.
— After killing Glenn, Negan takes supplies from the Alexandria Safe Zone, giving Carl the chance to stow away on his truck and murder some of his Saviors. Instead of seeking revenge, Negan takes Carl under his wing, giving him a tour of his home, the Sanctuary. In a surprising moment of trust (or arrogance), Negan even asks Carl to hold Lucille as he punishes a follower for sleeping with one of his wives.
— Rick and his followers attack Negan a short time later as he leaves Alexandria, but Negan's army is far larger than they realized. After the fight, Negan heads back to the Sanctuary to prepare for "All Out War".
— Rick starts a huge battle by destroying some of the walls that surround the Sanctuary, allowing walkers to invade. The fight eventually ends after Negan's men attack Alexandria with grenades.
— Negan plans to infect his enemies with the walker virus by covering Lucille and his men's weapons with zombie entrails. During the subsequent attack, Rick's group suffer casualties and he himself is shot by an arrow.
— After temporarily retreating, Negan's surprised to discover that Rick is still in fact alive. During a heated exchange, Rick convinces Negan to stop the fighting and work together to combat the growing walker threat, only to then betray him and slash Negan's throat!
— Two years later, Carl visits an unknown man living in a shady basement, who turns out to be Negan. It's revealed that Rick has kept him trapped in this basement for the past 24 months.
Negan's far more charming than people give him credit for:
— Eventually, Negan escapes with a character called Brandon Rose, who acts as an antagonist for a while before Negan eventually stabs him, because, well, it's Negan.
— Negan works alongside the Whisperers for a time, before betraying their leader, Alpha, by — yep, you guessed it — stabbing her in the neck multiple times.
— Proving his loyalty with this kill, Negan gains limited trust from Rick, who promises that he will allocate Negan some freedoms after the climax of the Whisperer War.
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As Negan's trajectory in the comics proves, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character is far more than just the one-note villain that some labelled him as following the Season 7 premiere. It's hard to imagine Rick ever even remotely considering that he and Negan could work together, but who knows what the future may hold? Admittedly, the show is unlikely to stick rigidly to the original source material, but even if just half of these story lines make their way to the small screen, The Walking Dead could hit a solid home run for seasons to come.
Is Negan the best villain yet on The Walking Dead?
Source — Rich Eisen Show