This may be a ludicrous question for those millions of you who are in-the-know about The Walking Dead, but it must be discussed if we’re going to continue on in the aftermath of the brutal Season 7 premiere.
(Editor’s Note: Yes, I was wrong. Darryl remains alive. But I’m glad they did what they did. Killing off Glenn & Abraham was the only logical decision for the show to make to get back on track.)
In The Walking Dead comic series, specifically the Here’s Negan addendum series, Lucille appears as the wife of Coach Negan. Yes, that’s right. Negan was an aggressive and competitive high school Gym Coach in Virginia. As many people would expect without explicitly being told, Negan was an asshole before the Apocalypse as well. He cursed out kids, insisting he was trying to build character, and would routinely get complaints from parents.
He was also a serial philanderer, cheating on his wife (Lucille) any chance he got. It was something that she seemed to just accept in her life, especially when the revelation came that she had cancer.
Negan began regretting his behavior and returning to his wife’s bed as her condition worsened. Her eventual death would correspond with the zombie outbreak…and his newfound devotion to his wife would lead him to construct the barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, and to name it “Lucille.”
The rest, of course, is history.
Knowing AMC’s The Walking Dead, I fully expect them to go into at least a bit of Negan‘s backstory, whether through exposition or flashbacks, or whatever. The way they build Negan as a character will depend wholly on how long and far they plan to take the series.
The popularity of Negan in the comic books enabled a vast story arc for the character which continues to this day. However, in the show, Negan could easily just be used as a one-and-done villain spanning a single, or possibly two, seasons.
There are several elements of Negan’s character, however, which I hope they keep in tact. He is over-the-top in violence and rhetoric, but there are a few things he refuses to do: rape (though this could be contested due to his propensity towards “taking wives”) and murder children.
Negan is currently the most hated character in The Walking Dead television series (with the possibly exceptions of Lori and Andrea), but I wonder how long that will last. Part of what makes his character great are his charm and honesty.
He comes along at a time when Rick and his fellow survivors are in total survival mode and serves to mirror the brutal dictator that Rick could potentially become. Until Negan comes along, Rick Grimes kills without hesitation and will go through any length to protect what he’s gained.
It’s this vision of his future that eventually causes Rick to spare Negan’s life and attempt to start a future where murder isn’t the norm.
Let’s see if the show takes the same approach. I’ve been waiting years for Negan to arrive…and it’ll be an exciting war.