Fans of AMC’s adaptation of ‘The Walking Dead’ were left with just a tease of major new baddie Negan, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who was teased throughout Season Six only to pop up for a fifteen minute monologue and then a bloody fade-to-black which left viewers wondering which of the main cast Negan had killed with his barb wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille. But the hit series will be making up for this short snippet by shifting the focus from Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) to Negan in the upcoming season.
As Negan himself, Morgan declared:
“It’s f—ing Negan’s world now… The last six seasons have followed Rick. You’re going to find out in that time Negan has been running his own show. He has created his army of followers – and some are probably reluctant followers, and if they’re reluctant followers he has a way to deal with that as well. We’ll find out how Negan has come to be who he is. We’re going to get some backstory very quickly on how the Saviors operate and how Negan operates.”
Regarding those “reluctant followers,” they were hinted at last season with the appearance of Dwight (Austin Amelio), one of Negan’s disciples who appeared normally only to return later with one side of his face disfigured, after crossing his leader.
Fans of the comic books know the story behind that, and it ain’t pretty.
Image Comics, who publish ‘The Walking Dead’ comic book, has been slowly doling out Negan’s origin in print as part of the their supplement to Diamond Distributors’ monthly ‘Previews’ catalogue. Thus far, readers have learned that (not surprisingly) Negan used to be a slightly bully-ish high school gym coach whose wife was stricken with cancer shortly before the walker outbreak. It was also revealed that he was having an affair but ended that relationship upon his wife falling ill and struggled with her sickness as the world went to hell.
Finally, showrunner Scott M. Gimple offered a bit of information on Negan’s headquarters the Sanctuary, stating “It’s a pretty epic location. It really is something else. People will see what they saw in the comic, and then some.”
‘The Walking Dead’ will return to AMC on October 23, 2016 at 9pm EST.