Spoilers for The Walking Dead comics and show follow
The veritable Jeffrey Dean Morgan has just been cast on The Walking Dead as a merciless villain from the comics called Negan. I won’t reveal any additional spoilers before giving you fair warning, because these are details from the comics that are potential plot points on the show. Ok ready?
Negan is a ruthless bastard who leads another group, attempts to extort Rick, and who kills Glenn as some kind of evil warning. I can’t tell you much about what happens after that, as I stopped reading the comics once Glen was murdered. Glenn died in issue 103 and according to reports Negan is still around as of recent issue, 145. So Morgan will likely be on the show for some time. This casting news has many fans hopeful that Glenn is still alive, although he’s likely to be killed anyway. Here’s the news from The Hollywood Reporter:
The character, who sources say first will arrive in the season-six finale directed by Greg Nicotero, is the violent leader of a group known as the Saviors that uses force and intimidation to subjugate other communities — including Alexandria. Negan first appears in the landmark 100th issue when he crosses paths with Rick Grimes, who had been vocal about bringing down the man who takes half the community’s supplies in exchange for “protection” from walkers. By comparison, Negan makes David Morrissey’s Governor look like a fluffy bunny.
Negan — who went through the casting process under the name of “Orin” — has become the primary villain in the comic series since he shockingly killed Glenn with “Lucille,” a baseball bat covered in barbed wire that he carries with him at all times. He’s still alive, as of issue 145. Morgan first will join the series as a guest-star before being promoted to series regular for season seven. Morgan was one of multiple actors (including Timothy Olyphant, Matt Dillon and Garret Dillahunt, among others) who had buzz as being in the running at some point for the role, though no others received offers. Production on the season-six finale begins this week in Atlanta.
Adding Negan into the mix comes as no surprise. Star Andrew Lincoln (Rick) told THR last season that “there are astonishingly brilliant and thrilling characters that I am convinced we would be idiots not to meet in our journey; I would be very surprised if we don’t see Negan on the horizon in the not-too-distant future.”
“What struck me, that I’ve always been excited about, is: We’re coming into the sixth season of this show. … And it’s the medieval part of The Walking Dead comic, where you realize that there are these isolated communities, but don’t really know other ones exist,” said Lincoln. “But they’re all building and forming themselves with their own image. And then there’s a clash of those communities. That, to me, is really interesting and when it gets really exciting with all the action. It turns into this insane, near-apocalyptic landscape that we’ve never seen before. That is almost a reimagining and a restart for society and humanity. And that is such a rich thing to tell.”
While I enjoy Morgan and am interested in seeing him in this role I’m kind of bummed that Timothy Olyphant was passed up for it. I hope that Walking Dead casting directors are considering Olyphant for other possible roles. Oh and another major comic character has been cast, a couple of months ago it was announced that Tom Payne will play Jesus.
Series runner Scott Gimple told THR that they’re going to mix up Negan’s story arc from the comics, but of course he was vague about it and wouldn’t give any hints about Glenn’s fate or whether Glenn had survived the zombie hoard. I’m peeved at The Walking Dead for holding Glenn’s death over our heads for two episodes now. They could have revealed what happened to Glenn this week without losing viewership but instead they left it up in the air. Next week we’ll find out how Daryl, Sasha and Abraham are doing outside the walls, but I doubt we’ll learn what happened to Glenn. Also, I found this spoiler-filled preview, which aired on German TV, for next week’s episode.