At the start of November AMC revealed via The Hollywood Reporter, that actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan had been cast as Negan, the big bad of The Walking Dead.
The character is iconic in the comic series, a brutal leader of a gang known as the Saviors, Negan shows no mercy to those who cross him, often favoring a razor-wire covered baseball bat named Lucille to serve up revenge. The casting of Negan had been a point of speculation for fans for years, with actors such as Henry Rollins, Ron Perlman and Jon Hamm frequently mentioned in fan cast articles. Morgan's name never seemed to come up as a front runner, though he was favored by many.
So, now that it's been over a month since the casting has been announced, and Morgan has spoken out about his casting in the show, do we think he has what it takes to bring Negan to life? Definitely.
Check out the 5 things that prove why Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be the perfect Negan:
1. He knows the show
After six seasons you would hope that anybody joining the cast of The Walking Dead had at least seen the show beforehand, and fortunately Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirmed to Entertainment Weekly that he definitely has.
It's entry level stuff, but if someone is playing the biggest villain of this entire series, I want them to be pretty familiar with The Walking Dead universe before they set foot on set, don't you?
2. He knows the comic book
Not only has he seen the series, but Morgan also revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he's read most of the comic series as well! In fact, Morgan was inspired to read the comic series after fans stared telling him that he would make the perfect Negan, so he decided to check out the character for himself.
It was when Morgan was most of the way through the comic series that his agent and manager rang him with the offer of the role. While his agent didn't know the character name, the description of the role was more than enough for Morgan to know exactly which character he had been offered. Morgan even told EW that "the excitement level of bringing this guy to life is at such a peak right now, I don’t know how I’m going to survive 'til April [when the show goes back into production]." Hell yeah, that's what we like to hear.
3. He knows the character
Speaking at Supernatural PasCon in Pasadena, California on Sunday 15th November, just days after it was announced he would be playing Negan, Morgan revealed to fans that he was just as excited about playing the role as they were about having him, saying:
"Ya'll know about Negan? Me too. It's why I did it...
When my agent/manager called they said, ‘You’ve been offered this thing on The Walking Dead…it’s to play this big bad.’ At the time, they didn’t know the character’s name, because I think it was supposed to be a secret. And I’m like, ‘Is it f–king Negan?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t know, we’re going to have to call you back, hold on a second.’ And I’m like, ‘No, it’s f–king Negan. And I’m f–king doing it.’"
Yes! I don't know about you, but having an actor just as excited to play a character as you are to see them totally indicates to me that he's the right man for the job.
4. He speaks Negan's language
In the comic series, Negan is well known for his foul mouth and general love affair with the word "fuck," and while it might seem crass to some, Jeffrey Dean Morgan actually told EW that he himself uses "use some colorful language." But, more so than Morgan dropping a few f-bombs here and there, he also understands the importance of Negan using strong language "because it’s who Negan is," adding 'Negan is a guy that you want to keep as true as possible, and that would be how I want to play him as well."
Unfortunately, due to the fact that AMC have advertisers, it seems unlikely that all of Negan's lines from the comics will make it into the TV show verbatim, but hopefully with Morgan pushing (as well as The Walking Dead producers) the network allows some strong language through.
5. He's already an expert with Negan's weapon
When questioned whether he would have to practice his swing before filming for his character (Negan's weapon of choice is a baseball bat he calls Lucille), Morgan simply replied
"I don’t need to practice my swing. I grew up with a bat in my hands."
Yes. Introducing Negan, ladies and gentleman.
'The Walking Dead' returns to AMC with the Season 6 mid-season premiere on February 14, 2016.
Source: Entertainment Weekly