We're two episodes in to the return of The Walking Dead, Season 6, but fans of the series are already looking forward to the finale. With the promise of Negan, one of the comic books' most popular antagonists, joining the show in Episode 16, those who have read the source material are wondering how much of Negan will actually be allowed on AMC.
One of the most noticeable issues that the showrunners are facing is how to include Negan in all of his violent, foul-mouthed glory while also keeping it within the confines of cable television regulations. The Walking Dead is willing to push a lot of boundaries, but Negan's penchant for dropping F-bombs is posing a minor conundrum.
While talking to Entertainment Weekly, Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan made it clear that while they want to keep things kosher with AMC, it won't compromise his work on the character:
“Look, it’s a speed bump. I’m not going to say it’s an issue because they’re working on it. We’re going to push AMC — the plan is to push them as far as they can because it’s who Negan is. He uses some colorful language. And I use some colorful language. And reading the comic, it’s important. So we’ll see where that lands. It’s our intention that this character is going to leap off the pages of the comic book. It’s very important that that’s who it is. Some of the characters there’s much more leeway, but 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.”
Scott M. Gimple, The Walking Dead showrunner and executive producer, told EW that his team is still working on how to round out Season 6 and bring us the best version of Negan's character, even if that version doesn't head directly to our television screens:
“I’m still finishing up season 6, so there are still aspects of these questions that I’m figuring out. But I will say that my goal is for, at the very least, in some way — might not be all the time, and it might not even be directly through your TV box — that people will be able to get full-octane Negan. I’m still playing around with it, but I will say I do have the material two ways right now. I’ll see what I can do with it. One way or another I want people to see full-octane Negan. Will I be able to shoot every scene like that? Probably not, but to tell you the truth, I think we will get as close to the version of full-octane Negan as we can through some version of the show or another.”
Filming two versions of Negan's introduction scene is definitely one option. In that case, the aired version would exclude much of the character's constant profanity, but the scenes would be available to their full effect in another cut on the DVD for the diehard fans.
While discussing the potential for filming two versions of the episode, the show's longtime director and executive producer Greg Nicotero implied that we're on the right track:
“That would be a very good guess. We’ve talked about that. Even back when Michael Cudlitz was cast as Abraham, we were like, ‘Damn, how are we going to deal with Abraham’s dialogue?’ And I think Gimple went, ‘Yeah, Abraham’s dialogue is fine. It’s Negan that we’re going to have problems with because every other word of Negan’s is f—.’ There is a rhythm to it that even in some of the takes that we did. What I affectionately call the ‘f— takes’ have a completely different rhythm to them and a completely different feel. So while editing it, I was very careful to make sure that I preserved a lot of the performance without getting myself into trouble with the profanity.”
Whether or not you're a fan of the swearing, it sounds like the team behind The Walking Dead will find a way to appease both sides of the fandom. But to be fair, if you've watched this series from the beginning, a few F-bombs here and there are likely the least of your worries.
After seeing hordes of walkers and the violent ends to some beloved characters, my desire for censorship for The Walking Dead is pretty much nonexistent. I say bring on all Negan has to offer!
Do you think we should see a full-throttle, foul-mouthed Negan?
(Source: Entertainment Weekly)