Remember back when it seemed like no one could be worse than the Governor on The Walking Dead? You're probably longing for those days now that you’ve met Negan on The Walking Dead. In the preview clip released at New York Comic-Con, Rick says he’s going to kill Negan, which may not be the smartest thing to say to a guy holding a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. After the threat, Negan takes Rick into his trailer and many fans are speculating that Negan will chop Rick’s hand off at that pioint, since in the comics the Governor chopped off Rick's hand after being threatened in a similar way. Whether that's exactly what happens in the trailer or not, there's clearly some violence going down between Negan and Rick, and I'm sure fellow fans are already wondering whether Rick will follow through on his promise.
Unfortunately, the answer to that question has yet to be determined, because in the most recent issues of the comics that The Walking Dead is based on, Negan is still alive. It’s a major sign that TV viewers (and Rick) are going to be stuck with the evil villain for a very long time, so we better get used to him. The AMC series occasionally veers from the comic book path when it comes to who it kills off and lets live, but I think Negan’s fate will be tied to the comic books — at least for now.
I think over the course of the next few seasons, we’re going to have a love-hate relationship with Negan. Yes, he's a cruel person who uses horrific violence in order to maintain power, but he's also meant to be incredibly intelligent and practical. In the comics, Negan actually has boundaries, prohibiting rape and hurting defenseless children. While it doesn't make anything he's done OK, The Walking Dead has showed us that the zombie apocalypse can drive people to do terrible things, and we've seen Rick's group do things that others would likely view as evil.
Since it seems like Negan will survive for a while, the war that has been brewing between The Saviors and the Alexandria Safe-Zone will likely escalate in Season 7. In the comics, Negan demands that Alexandria hand over their supplies to the Saviors whenever his group needs them and uses violence to make that happen. There’s a ton of confrontations between Negan and Rick in the comics as well, and I’m sure we'll see that through out Season 7.
Now, this war is not just one battle. It’s bloody and it lasts for quite awhile in the comic books. There’s a lot of death and most of it is caused by Negan (and his henchman Dwight) and while I’m not going to spoil it, you should prepare for a lot fo characters we know and love not to make it out of this one.
However, things change after the war. Negan doesn't die, but Rick does capture him and imprison him for two years. Negan even forms a sort of weird friendship with Carl and offers Rick advice when he asks for it. See what I mean about a love-hate relationship? During the two years after the war, another group of enemies emerge called The Whisperers and when Negan is finally able to escape from prison, he murders their leader in an attempt to show Rick that he can be trusted.
We have a long way to go until the TV series shows a side of Negan that we may actually be able to like, but he’s in there somewhere.
Just try to keep that in mind when The Walking Dead Season 7 starts off with the cruelest aspects of this villain.
Images: Gene Page/AMC; dailytwdgifs/Tumblr (3)