Negan is a fictional character in the comic book series The Walking Dead and in the television series of the same name. He is the leader of a group of roughly 1,000 survivors in the Sanctuary, called the Saviors, a group that oppresses other survivor communities and forces them to pay tribute to him. In the comics, the character's appearance is based on Henry Rollins, as confirmed by Charlie Adlard; Robert Kirkman worked in his excessive use of profanity, derived from other people he knew. Jeffrey Dean Morgan portrays Negan in the television series of the same name and first appeared in the series' sixth-season finale.
|The Walking Dead character|
|Created by||Robert Kirkman |
|Portrayed by||Jeffrey Dean Morgan|
|Significant other||Sherry |
several unnamed wives
After Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors agree to begin a trading relationship with the Hilltop Colony, they are ambushed by the Saviors and are forced to obey Negan's orders to give the Saviors half of their supplies, as the other communities do. Initially obedient, Rick and the others secretly conspire with other communities in the Washington, D.C. area to prepare for war against the Saviors. Negan resides in an abandoned factory, where most of the attractive women—formerly other men's girlfriends or wives—act as his wives. He soon grows fond of Rick's son, Carl Grimes.
Morgan has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Negan in the television series upon his debut, earning himself the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series, MTV Movie Award for Best Villain, and Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television. When offered the role of Negan, Morgan immediately accepted as he was already a fan of The Walking Dead.
Comic book seriesEdit
Prior to the outbreak, Negan was the coach of a local high school, keeping his players in line through intimidation and bullying. He is happily married to his wife, Lucille, but nonetheless has a mistress on the side who doesn't know he is married. During an argument, Lucille collapses and he rushes her to the hospital where she is found to have a life-threatening cancer. As his wife is tended to, Negan tells his mistress the truth, and she immediately leaves him. When the zombie apocalypse starts, the hospital workers tell Negan they are being forced to abandon the hospital and he should leave with them, but he refuses to leave Lucille's side. Lucille dies when the power goes out, short-circuiting her life support machine; moments later, she reanimates as a zombie. He flees the hospital and finds a boy being trapped by zombies, and helps to dispatch them with a fire extinguisher. In return, Negan asks the boy to kill Lucille for him.
A Larger WorldEdit
At some point after the outbreak, Negan is found by a group led by a man named Dwight. He slowly takes control over this group from Dwight, renaming them the Saviors and ruling them with an iron fist. Negan, along with his team (which includes at least 50 or more other men), makes a deal with the Hilltop Colony: the Saviors would use the weaponry the other group was lacking to pull all zombies wandering near the Hilltop's premises; in return, the Saviors would obtain half of Hilltop's supplies, such as livestock and crops. Negan punishes even the smallest infraction (real or perceived) with brutal violence; for example, he orders the (attempted) death of the Hilltop's leader, Gregory, because he feels Gregory is not sufficiently loyal.
Something To FearEdit
Later, Negan, along with 50 other Saviors, snuck up on Rick's group and subdued Rick by surprise. They lined up all of the survivors from the van (Rick, Carl, Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Michonne, and Heath), telling them that Negan wanted revenge for the Saviors who were killed. Without Rick's consent, Negan imposed a binding deal: everything that belonged to the Alexandria Safe-Zone now belonged to the Saviors. Negan also introduced his weapon of choice; Lucille, a baseball bat covered in barbed wire. After a long talk about the new world order and whom he should beat to death using Lucille, he finally chose his victim at random: Glenn. Maggie panicked, while Glenn tried talking Negan out of it. However, Negan ignored him and beat him to death. Negan told the mourning and crying group that the Saviors would be back in one week to collect half of everything that Alexandria Safe-Zone owned, or there would be more killings. Rick vowed to avenge Glenn's murder and kill Negan. Negan laughed at this, beat Rick with his bare hands, and then turned around, leaving the survivors with Glenn's mangled corpse.
What Comes AfterEdit
Negan and the Saviors later arrived at the Alexandria Safe-Zone for their first offering. Negan and the Saviors begin killing the roamers in the surrounding area and scavenge each of the houses for supplies. Negan and his men depart from the Safe-Zone with supplies, but, unbeknownst to them, Carl is hiding in the truck with an assault rifle. Once the Saviors get back to their base, Negan is amazed to see that Dwight is still alive. A Savior finds Carl, and Carl uses the rifle to kill six Saviors. They surround Carl, and he demands to speak with Negan. When Negan arrives, Carl fires at them until he loses control of his gun. Dwight is about to kill Carl when Negan stops Dwight and says, "Is that any way to treat our new guest?"
Instead of taking immediate action against young Carl, Negan shows interest in getting to know the child. He goes as far as to lead him through the Saviors' facilities, revealing that he is the leader of a cult-like domain of selfless followers who bow to his every word and command. Many followers in his ranks are living on a point system in order to sustain their lives, though many give in to his graces in exchange for a better lifestyle, most notably the women in his "harem" whom he considers his "wives".
Negan reveals that he'd like to get to know Carl a little better, but he gets distracted by Carl's bandaged face. He orders Carl to remove the bandages. Carl allows him to see it only after being threatened; he removes the bandages to reveal the disturbing results of having been shot. Negan, in a state of disbelief and awe, jokingly mocks the deformity and goes as far as to ask Carl if he can touch the part of his skull showing through Carl's exposed eye-socket, which causes Carl to break finally and cry. This appears to have an odd effect on Negan, who takes back the gesture and apologizes, seeing that he has finally found a weakness in the child he finds so dangerous.
In a ritualistic fashion, complete with call and response chanting, with the followers answering to Negan's words, Negan demonstrates that whoever falls onto his bad graces is dealt with by having their face seared by a hot iron. Tied to the end of a pole, the tool is held over a fire before being handed to Negan, who presses it against the victim's face as punishment for their betrayal. In this case, it is the face of Amber's former lover Mark, who is left deformed in the same manner as Dwight, with a portion of his face permanently scarred and an eyeball exposed. After the ritual, Negan dismisses his congregation before turning to Carl, who hands back "Lucille", and Negan leads him away, contemplating what to do with him.
Negan runs into Rick while the latter was on his way to find Carl. Negan tells Rick how eager he is to show him "what he has done to his son". Rick, in a fit of rage, then attacks Negan before Negan reveals that Carl is fine, and Negan clarifies that he is eager to show Rick "that he has done nothing to his son."
March to WarEdit
Several days later, Negan arrives at the Alexandria Safe-Zone a few days ahead of schedule; he's informed that the community is "practically" out of supplies, and Rick went out looking for more. Negan decides that he will stay in Alexandria until Rick returns from the supply run. Negan is later approached by Spencer Monroe who tells Negan that Rick is not a suitable leader for the community and asks that once Negan assassinates Rick, he be given control over the Safe-Zone. He responds by telling Spencer that Rick may hate him, but, he has guts, unlike Spencer, who acted like a coward. Negan then slashes Spencer's stomach, killing him almost instantly.
Rick later returns with supplies. Negan initially demands all of it but then decides to take nothing, as repayment for having killed Spencer. Rick insists that they take their share, and Negan has no objections. As the Saviors are driving back to the foundry, Negan notices Rick and a few others are following them. An instant later, the driver is shot and killed. Confused and angry, Negan takes Lucille and sees Rick pointing a gun at his head. Suddenly, a gunshot is heard, and Rick's gun is destroyed as well as those of the others who came out with him. Negan remarks on how stupid Rick and the others are to use bullets on the roamers instead of saving them for "the much more dangerous thinkers" (i.e., the living). Negan reveals that before every pickup, he has a back-up team armed with guns surround the Safe-Zone and guard the area while he and the other Saviors go in and salvage for supplies. With a crazed smile on his face, Negan leans into Rick and says that he and the Safe-Zone residents are "fucking fucked."
Negan smiles and says that in a stand-off situation, snipers tend to give away their position after several shots. He clarifies that Rick's "sniper bitch is as good as dead," causing Rick to try and strike him. As Negan holds him off, Carl shoots off a portion of Lucille, causing the Saviors to open fire at the Safe-Zone walls. Negan orders them to stop, and is shocked and angry about the damage to Lucille .Negan issues an ultimatum: "Give me the boy, or I'll bash in all four skulls of the people out here!" Negan admits that he liked Carl at first and that he never had a kid of his own; if he did, he wanted him to be like Carl. Rick says that if Carl dies, their agreement is over, but, Negan states that it already is over. He orders his men to line up Rick, Heath, Nicholas, and Holly, then begins to decide which one to kill first. He notices a figure falling from the bell tower and smugly repeats that he knew Rick's sniper was good as dead, not realizing that it's not Andrea, but Connor.
Negan taunts Rick about Andrea's supposed demise, and Nicholas interrupts him, pleading for his life. Negan berates Nicholas for doing this and accuses him of being a coward. He asks Rick, Heath, or Holly to ask him to kill Nicholas and says if they do so, he will spare them. However, Heath tells him, no, and so Negan begins to pick which one of them he will kill.
Negan is interrupted when Paul Monroe grabs a Savior by the foot and uses him as a shield from the Saviors' bullets. Negan tells his men to stand down, and when he does this, Paul leaps out of a trench and kicks the nearest Savior in the face. Paul orders Rick and the others into a trench and proceeds to fight his way towards Negan. When Paul reaches Negan, he manages to disarm him and hold him hostage. Paul stalls the Saviors until Ezekiel and his men arrive. Negan breaks free from Paul and runs to a truck, where he retreats back to the Sanctuary with his men. Negan is later seen back at the Sanctuary, where he gives the Saviors a speech about their being the dominant force in the world, and they need to remind people of that. Negan then states they are going to war.
All Out WarEdit
Several days later, Rick's army arrives at the Saviors' base and demands that Negan come out. Rick reveals that they know there are women, children, and others inside who aren't part of this fight, he offers a chance to surrender and let them live; for the rest, he reaffirms his old saying: "You kill, and you die." Negan thinks for a split second and blatantly refuses Rick's offer. He briefly entertains the idea of letting Rick's plan go through only to reveal a wildcard; after the ambush at Alexandria, Negan ordered Gregory kidnapped and brought to him. Afraid of what Negan might do, Gregory quickly pledged his allegiance (and that of the Hilltop) to Negan and the Saviors. After Gregory informed his loyalty towards Negan, he told Negan that the majority of Rick's army was people from the Hilltop Colony. Negan is pleased with this, but when Rick's army arrived, he is furious that only eight people accept the ultimatum and leave. Negan berates Gregory for this misinformation and kicks him off the balcony. He refuses Rick's offer once more, and his snipers begin to fire at the militia. He calls Dwight, ordering him to bring the men from the outposts back to help drive off Rick's army. Dwight agrees but due to the commotion, Negan doesn't notice the former's hesitation to act immediately. As more men rush outside, Negan orders them to start shooting the army before all their snipers are killed. He suddenly notices that all their snipers are taking cover and is initially confused as to why Rick's militia are shooting not the snipers, but the windows. He then notices the large herd of zombies that are rapidly approaching the Sanctuary walls. Suddenly, Holly drives through the fence, destroying a portion of it and letting the herd inside. Negan frantically orders his men back inside the foundry but notices that Holly is still alive from the crash. He sees a zombie about to kill her and dispatches it. As she looks up, Negan smiles and says that she wasn't "going to get off THAT fucking easy." As the zombies converge on the courtyard area, the Saviors retreat inside the foundry to develop a new strategy.
Negan delivers an analogy to a group of Saviors about how you can destroy a man "by fucking his vagina", meaning that the best way to destroy a man's heart is by destroying the woman he loves; Negan clearly believes this to be Holly since Rick "was going to drive a car at us... you wouldn't let him sacrifice himself to tear our gate down." She corrects him by saying he's got the wrong woman; Rick loves Andrea, and she was in love with Abraham, the man Dwight killed. Negan refuses to listen, insisting that she is the one who killed Connor "and a terrible liar." He then orders her taken away and goes off to clear his head. Later, Negan is seen outside with more Saviors trying to clear the courtyard of all the zombies, swearing that if any of them die he will "fuck them up." Eventually, too many roamers pour in the fence and Negan's group retreat inside once more. Negan realizes that if the herd keeps them stuck inside for more than one day, they will all be dead, and he orders squads outside every two hours to clean up the infestation by any means necessary. He goes to interrogate Holly some more but catches David in the middle of trying to rape her. Negan demands that he get away from her and grabs him by the collar. He angrily reminds David one of the Savior's main rules: "We don't rape", thus proving Negan does hate sexual violence. As punishment for him breaking this rule, Negan proceeds to stab David in the neck and apologizes to Holly, telling her that "they [The Saviors] aren't monsters." After killing David, it is presumed that Negan got word of one of his outposts being overrun by Rick's army and sent more to fortify the remaining ones. This, in turn, led to Ezekiel's army being eradicated in a failed attack. Negan also found a way to eliminate all of the zombies that had flooded into the Sanctuary's courtyard, for he is later seen heading towards Alexandria. When he arrives at the Safe-Zone, he throws a grenade over the wall, and it detonates, demolishing one of the houses and getting Rick's attention. He threatens that 'there's more where that came from' and insists that he's here to parlay. To support his claim, he has a blindfolded Holly brought out of his truck and offers to release her back to Rick. Rick agrees to talk only when Holly is safely back inside, to which Negan agrees. This is later shown to be a ploy as it's revealed that Negan had Holly killed and she later reanimated. As the Alexandrians are distracted by this revelation, Negan orders his men to surround Alexandria and throws another grenade over the wall, yelling "Bombs away, motherfuckers!". Negan is happy seeing all the destruction and chaos and admits to Lucille that "my dick's so hard right now... I should wrap it in barbed wire and call it 'Lucille II'." He asks Lucille if seeing him use the grenades makes her jealous of not being inside to take part in all the mayhem and wishes that he was inside as well watching them all burn. Davis, overhearing the conversation, awkwardly agrees that he's got a boner too and says [they're] hungry for death as well. Negan, confused by this, asks what the hell he's talking about. Suddenly, Davis is shot through the eye and gunfire erupts from behind several buildings. Surprised by this, Negan orders his men behind one of the trucks. He asks for one more grenade to use as cover and tells his men "the last boat is leaving... you'd better fucking be on it." He manages to escape, and they can make a fast exit. When a Savior makes an offhand comment about retreating, Negan retorts that this wasn't a retreat. Pointing towards the smoke coming from Alexandria, he comments that this means they've "just fucking won."
After successfully bombarding Alexandria, Negan is seen leading his men back to Sanctuary when he sees a herd of roamers attacking several people from Alexandria. He orders them to kill the roamers and wonders aloud why they are out here beyond the wall. Nevertheless, he orders Eugene and the others to be taken back with them. Later, Negan somehow finds out that Eugene was making ammunition for Rick's army and goes to see him. Flanked by Dwight and Carson, Negan demands Eugene to begin producing ammo for the Saviors. When the latter refuses, Negan hands Carson Lucille, then proceeds to grab his own groin (referring to it as his 'crystal balls') and tells Eugene what will happen if he refuses to cooperate; smiling, he says that he could iron Eugene's face (while glancing at Dwight) or castrate him. Negan insists that he doesn't want to do this, but threatens Eugene by saying that he does things he doesn't like all the time. Eugene still refuses to betray Rick and Negan leaves Eugene "with his thoughts and his dick... while he still has it." After ordering Dwight to lock Eugene up and to check on the others, Negan goes to have sex with one of his wives (it is implied to be Sherry due to the look he throws at Dwight), saying that he'll see them both the next morning. Early the following day, Negan reveals to the Saviors that he's come up with a brilliant plan that will help them win the war. He has assembled a group of roamers inside the courtyard to demonstrate his idea, exclaiming "they are the lynchpin of our plans going forward." Reminding them about the fever that comes from getting bit or from any other injury caused by a roamer, Negan approaches one with Lucille. After apologizing to Lucille, Negan begins to rub it all over the roamer, covering the bat with guts and the bacteria that causes the fever. Holding up 'the new and improved Lucille,' Negan says that even the slightest touch from Lucille will now essentially be a death sentence. He orders the Saviors to do the same to their weapons and then hit the road. Arriving at the Hilltop later that day, Negan and his men hide in the forest just outside the Hilltop. He then issues the order: "We attack at sundown."
Several hours later, Negan and his troops arrive at the Hilltop gates, demanding to see Rick. Kal is atop the wall and threatens them by saying they won't survive what's behind the walls. Negan tells him to bring Rick, but Kal says, "you're talking to me." Insulted, Negan has one of his men shoot Kal off the wall. Once again, Negan demands Rick to show himself. After no response from him, Negan orders his men to further gunk up their weapons, saying "we're going in." He goes up to Dwight, making sure his arrows are covered. Dwight offhandedly talks back, but Negan dismisses it. He warns Rick one more time what will happen and then orders a truck to ram into the front gates. The truck gets shot up, but Negan issues another to take its place and has motorcycles come in as well. The Saviors pour into the Hilltop and begin to kill off the residents. As gunfire continues to erupt towards them, Negan and Dwight get separated from the other Saviors. Negan is unaware that Dwight is loading an arrow to kill him when he spots Rick away from the other survivors. He tells Dwight to shoot Rick; no matter where he aims "that muck will make him sick." Dwight is hesitant to do so, but Negan demands to know why he's waiting and screams at him to shoot Rick. Dwight finally (and reluctantly) does so, hitting Rick in the side. After this, Negan declares that "without him, they're nothing. Game fucking over."
After Rick is hit with the arrow, Negan and Dwight retreat to the rest of The Savior horde, hoping to devise a plan of attack against the remaining survivors at Hilltop. When night completely falls on the colony, Negan is almost accidentally shot by one of The Saviors, who states he couldn't see properly in the darkness. Negan says that it is not that dark and asks one of his Saviors the status of the battle. The Savior tells him most of The Saviors are now re-grouped, and they are ready to get back on the defensive and Negan orders him and the rest of the men to get ready for their attack on the Hilltop mansion. When they begin their attack, they are immediately surrounded by many of Rick's forces, who manage to cause Negan to order and retreat and head back to The Savior camps on the hillside near Hilltop. After his and The Saviors' retreat, Negan is seen back at the camp alongside Dwight, who questions if camping so close to Hilltop is a good idea. Negan says that they are doing it and remarks that he sometimes wonders if Dwight has ever had a brain in his head. He elaborates by saying that Rick's forces won't have enough manpower to counterattack and that because Dwight shot Rick with an arrow, his death will cause the remaining forces to bow back down to Negan, and he says that he will be their Savior again, as long as they let him urinate on Rick's dead body. Seeing the look on Dwight's face, Negan says that there's nothing weird about that; Negan says that since Rick's ruined everything, "it'd be weird if I DIDN'T piss all over his dead, bloated body." He is informed that Carson has escaped with Eugene. Negan tells him not to worry about it, and that they will deal with them later. Negan arrives at Hilltop's gates and shoots twice into the air. He claims that he's here to accept their surrender and asks them to send whoever is now in charge out. He swears the area he's in will be a safe zone, and there won't be any bloodshed. After getting impatient, Negan threatens to come back inside when Rick exits the Hilltop. Bowled over with shock to see him still alive, Negan turns towards Dwight for an answer, but Rick tells him to "look at me." Overcoming his initial shock, Negan asks Rick to surrender, to "let things go back the way they were" but Rick refuses. Negan repeats that he only kills people to make an example and threatens Rick that he will do so again if pushed too far, but Rick replies by saying he's "the stupidest fucking person still alive." Taken aback, Negan asks what he's talking about. Rick goes on to say that they should pool their resources and people together. Negan doesn't believe him, saying that with the system he's been using, he is saving lives. Rick tells him in the current situation, the only ones who are winning are the undead; the only way to get through this is by working together. Negan takes this all in, and Rick says that they can take their supplies, but they must give the survivors something in return; make supplies of their own to give or trade for others via a barter system. A fog seems to lift from Negan's mind and finally sees what Rick has been talking about; he realizes that his actions and methods have only helped himself while the communities he's been threatening have suffered. Negan says he's been wrong all along and that Rick is right. Rick then slashes Negan's throat with a knife, responding "Good." Caught by surprise, Negan begins bleeding out while Rick begins to address the remaining Saviors. Negan then tackles Rick and begins beating him. Despite Rick putting up a fight, Negan catches one of Rick's legs and breaks it. Laughing, he eventually passes out due to blood loss. He eventually wakes up inside one of the rooms in the Hilltop and sees Rick standing over him. He admits to Rick that during the conversation Rick had with Carl, he was able only to catch bits and pieces of it. He knows that Rick decided not to kill him, but asks what's going to happen now. Rick reveals that he's going to keep Negan alive so he can see how much Negan was holding the survivors back. Rick also tells Negan that he's going to rot in jail until he dies an old man.
A New BeginningEdit
Two years after the war, Carl goes to the basement of an unknown house and talks to a figure in the shadows. He then says to Carl that he enjoys their talks and that it is good for him to keep track of the time and days passed. Carl says he is leaving, but before he leaves, the figure asks him if, after all this time, all the things they have shared and the talks they have had, Carl still wants to kill him. He turns around and faces the person behind bars, simply saying: "Yes, Negan. You know I do." Negan asks how he was supposed to know that Carl wanted to kill him and tells him not to insult his intelligence. Negan says that he thought the two of them were friends to which Carl walks away, making Negan retreat into the corner of his cell.
Negan asks if Rick is taking Carl to the Hilltop, slightly shocking Rick. Negan says that he and Carl are friends and that Rick could not break that bond. Negan tells Rick that he is just getting things ready for him and that he will not be in his cell forever. Rick says that he knows Negan will die behind bars, to which Negan says that he won't and that deep down, Rick knows he should have killed Negan.
Magna and her group later come down to see who was in the jail. When they walk down the stairs to where Negan is being held, Negan grabs the bars to his cell and asks if they are here to rescue him, saying that "they're animals." This shocks Magna and her group. Negan begs to be released and claims Rick is a monster who locked him up and tortured him for speaking out against him. However, Magna does not believe him, having seen actual victims of torture. Negan admits he was lying but had to give it a try. Magna and her companions leave the cell.
Life and DeathEdit
Some time later, Negan is bathing and having his hair cut by Olivia outside his cell door. After finishing, Negan walks back to his cell at gunpoint from Andrea, who calls him a 'fucking monster,' much to Negan's amusement. Olivia then proceeds to lock the door, and they both leave Negan alone. However, it turns out Olivia didn't lock Negan's cell properly as the door swings open, which Negan notices. However, Negan decides not to escape and remains in his cell with the door open until Rick comes downstairs, then taunts him about the numerous ways he could have destroyed Alexandria without anyone realizing, but claimed to stay as sign of good faith and an offering to amend their trust. As Rick locks up the cage and leaves, Negan taunts him again by stating the only reason he's alive is so Rick can prove to himself that he's still a good person, and that he wants everyone else to believe he is the only one who can fix the world.
No Turning BackEdit
After a tumultuous community meeting regarding Rick's proposed plan regarding the Whisperers, Rick goes to Negan's cell and asks for his help. He fills him in on everything that has happened since they've come into conflict with this new group. Negan advises Rick to keep his group happy, even if that means lying to them, touting his expertise as leader of the Saviors, some of whom disliked him. Rick leaves, and Negan dons a grin. When Negan hears the chants and cheers of Rick's name at a later town meeting, Negan smiles and says, "atta boy."
Call to ArmsEdit
While in his cell, Negan is approached by Brandon Rose, a young Hilltop resident who bears a grudge against Rick, Carl, Sophia, and the Whisperers; Rick killed his father as an act of self-defense, Carl beat him up after he had attacked Sophia who beat him up, and Alpha beheaded his mother. He proposes to help Negan escape, and Negan says he will think about it. Later on Rick and Michonne discover Negan's empty cell. After his escape, Negan and Brandon enter Whisperer terrain. Here Brandon tells Negan that he wants Negan to pit Rick and the Whisperers against one another. In response, Negan stabs Brandon in the chest and enters the Whisperer zone alone. Shortly afterwards, Negan is ambushed by a group of Whisperers led by Beta and is taken prisoner. They bring him to Alpha. Negan introduces himself and declares his love for Alpha. Negan starts to live with the Whisperers, though without Beta's trust. During a night at camp, Negan sees two Whisperers trying to rape a woman. He stops them but is knocked down by Beta for interfering. Alpha explains that they allow for things like this to happen in order for women to prove their strength, causing Negan to become angry with her. Later that night, Negan and Alpha have a face to face conversation where Negan reveals how dead inside this world has made him and that he knows Alpha is just pretending to have no emotions, causing Alpha to breakdown. Alpha says that maybe Negan does belong with the Whisperers after all. Negan then slits Alpha's throat, followed by decapitating her, saying "wait until Rick gets a look at you...", revealing Negan had no feelings for Alpha all along.
The Whisperer WarEdit
A week after disappearing, Negan turns up with Alpha's decapitated head and shows it to Rick and Andrea, who are very hesitant to believe and trust him. Negan reassures them that he only wants trust. He says Rick's way of thinking is inspiring and tries to convince them that his time in prison has rehabilitated him. He says he could've taken several chances and attacked Rick, but he didn't. He wants to fight with him, not against him. Rick finally agrees to let Negan out of the cell, but not in a community. He will live in an outpost, alone, with only enough food and weaponry to keep him surviving. He is not allowed these freedoms yet, though. He is going to be monitored for a long time and will fight on the front lines against the Whisperers. He will earn his freedom after the war, unless he slips up, in which case he will be immediately killed, they eventually win the war and he later admits he was wrong about his decisions and leaves to fend for himself there he is confronted by Maggie who wants revenge, but decides not to kill him after seeing him in a depressed state.
In the Letter Hacks for Issue 182, Kirkman confirmed that Negan will not return to the series. When asked if Negan would receive another barbed-wire baseball bat, Kirkman answered, "If we see Negan again - and we won't - I'd be really surprised if he had a bat with him. It feels like he put that behind him in his last appearance."
In season 8, Negan vaguely states that he helped young people improve upon their weaknesses and molded them into stronger individuals. Negan later met a woman named Lucille and the pair fell in love and married. Over time however, Negan gradually became unfaithful towards her as he constantly lied and even engaged in an affair. In the onset of the outbreak, Negan was present alongside Lucille who had succumbed to an unknown illness and eventually perished. When she became a walker, Negan was unable to bring himself to put his wife down; this act of weakness would continue to haunt him and thus Negan strived to become a much stronger person.
Sometime after the outbreak, Negan established himself as the tyrannical dictator of a community of survivors called the "Saviors". He wields a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire that he calls "Lucille" (after his wife). Negan quickly gathered a large following and established outposts in various locations around the Washington, D.C. area. Within the structure of the Saviors, Negan has a right-hand man named Simon as well as several lieutenants, including Wade, Bud, Gavin, Arat and Dwight. At some point, Negan and the Saviors encountered the Hilltop Colony and extorted its leader Gregory into giving them half their supplies on a regular basis; failure to do so would result in the Saviors killing members of their community. To set an example, his goons used a baseball bat to beat a 16-year-old resident named Rory to death, after which Gregory submitted to Negan's demands. Negan and his men also made contact with the community known as the Kingdom and made a similar agreement with their leader King Ezekiel. At some point, Dwight fled the Saviors with his wife Sherry, sister-in-law Tina, and a truck full of supplies that they refer to as Patty. Negan subsequently sent out a large group, led by Wade, to retrieve them and the stolen supplies.
The Saviors become the main antagonists during the second half of season 6 and with their mysterious leader known as Negan being mentioned several times prior to his appearance in the season finale. His name is first heard in "No Way Out" when a group of bikers, led by a man named Bud, accost Daryl Dixon, Abraham Ford and Sasha Williams and attempt to steal their weapons, but Daryl kills them with a rocket launcher the following episode.
In the season finale, "Last Day on Earth", while driving the ailing Maggie Greene to the Hilltop, Rick and his group run into multiple roadblocks set by the Saviors, which eventually causes Rick's group to travel by foot. While walking through the woods, the group is ambushed by a large contingent of the Saviors led by Negan's right-hand man Simon, who take Rick and his group's weapons and make them get on their knees.
Dwight also brings out Daryl, Glenn Rhee, Michonne, and Rosita Espinosa, and makes them get on their knees, too. Negan then comes out of their RV and tells Rick that he must give him all of his possessions, and that Rick and everyone else at Alexandria work for Negan now; he "owns" them. Because Rick's group killed a lot of Saviors, Negan tells Rick's group they have to be punished, and he is going to beat one of them to death with "Lucille". Negan can't decide whom to kill, so he decides to choose the victim in a game of "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe", which he recites while pointing Lucille at each member of the group, before landing on an unseen individual, saying, "you are it." Negan warns the group not to say anything or to move, and he begins to beat the unseen individual to death, as everyone else in the group screams.
The season premiere, "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be", reveals that Negan's chosen victim is Abraham, whom he bludgeons to death with "Lucille". Enraged, Daryl rushes Negan and punches him in the face, only to be stopped by three Saviors directly. As a reprisal for Daryl's attack, Negan beats Glenn to death in front of Maggie, his wife.
Negan then presents Rick with an ultimatum: pledge total loyalty, or the rest of the group will die. When Rick remains defiant, Negan threatens to kill Rick's son Carl and the rest of the group unless Rick cuts the boy's arm off. After some hesitation, Rick raises the axe; Negan stops him, knowing that he has broken the elder Grimes' will. Negan then allows the surviving members of the group to depart with the warning that the Saviors will return in a week to collect their supplies. As insurance against further retaliation, Negan takes Daryl with him.
In "The Cell", Negan is shown to rule the Sanctuary (the main Savior stronghold) through fear and rewarding his personal army of enforcers (who identify themselves as "Negan" in a show of loyalty). He keeps Daryl locked in a cell and hopes to break his will and mold him into one of his Saviors, but Daryl refuses to submit.
In "Service", Negan and his men arrive at Alexandria earlier than expected. He forces Rick to give him a tour while Rick holds Lucille and makes pithy comments along the way. Both Rick and Father Gabriel lied to Negan that Maggie didn't make it. He later talks Carl out of shooting a Savior, and decides to take all of Alexandria's guns. When two guns go missing from the inventory, Negan threatens to kill Olivia (Ann Mahoney) if they aren't found. This is later resolved when Rick finds them as well as a hunting rifle which wasn't in the armory. This impresses Negan who states that "this is something to build a relationship on" before telling him to find them something interesting for next time. Before leaving, Negan takes back Lucille and tells Rick that "I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it" as a way of gloating over Rick's deference to him.
Negan next appears in "Sing Me a Song", when he meets his men returning with supplies from the Hilltop. They are attacked by Carl, who kills two of the Saviors and demands Negan come forward. Negan is nonchalant about the imminent danger to him, but develops a respect for Carl. He later sits Carl down and states that he wants to get to know him better, so he should uncover his eye. When Carl begrudgingly does so, Negan pokes fun at the boy's missing eye, but when he sees Carl become visibly upset, he shows genuine remorse and apologizes. He grows to genuinely like Carl, and later brings him to watch as he burns Mark, a Savior who has displeased him, with a hot iron to teach everyone a lesson about “following the rules”. He then decides to bring Carl back to Alexandria, where they wait for Rick.
In the mid-season finale, "Hearts Still Beating", Negan is approached in Alexandria by Spencer Monroe, who attempts to bond with him over whiskey and a game of pool. The two seem to hit it off, until Spencer tells Negan about how dangerous Rick is and that he should be in charge for both of their sakes. Negan states that while Rick hates him, he respects that Rick was brave enough to threaten him and swallow his pride to protect others. Disappointed that Spencer "has no guts" for going to him while Rick is gone, Negan eviscerates Spencer with a knife while jokingly stating that "he did have guts after all." This provokes Rosita Espinosa to draw a gun and shoot at Negan, though she misses and instead hits Lucille. Enraged, Negan threatens to have Rosita's face mutilated unless she tells him where she got the bullet. When she refuses, Negan tells his lieutenant Arat to kill someone, causing Olivia to be gunned down.
Rick, having just arrived, sees this and demands to know what happened. Negan calmly replies that he has tried to be reasonable as he returned Carl unharmed and killed Spencer for Rick. When Eugene confesses to making the bullet, Negan takes him prisoner and tells Rick that he is "way in the hole" for this incident no matter how many supplies they gather, before departing. After this, Rick finally knows he has to stop Negan, and hereby attempts to convince other communities to put an end to Negan's reign of terror by forming an alliance to defeat their common enemy. Negan reappears in "Hostiles and Calamities" where he greets Eugene entering the Sanctuary. After determining that Eugene is indeed highly intelligent, Negan allows him to get comfortable within the Sanctuary and even sends him two of his wives to provide him with company. When Negan discovers that Sherry is gone, he suspects her of freeing Daryl and has Dwight beaten and thrown in a cell. When he is convinced that Dwight wasn't involved and is still loyal, he sends him after Sherry, only to learn that she supposedly was killed by walkers. When he finds evidence of Dr. Carson aiding in Daryl's escape (secretly planted by Dwight), Negan throws him in the fire-pit before apologizing to Dwight for doubting him, and offering condolences for his loss. "Something They Need" shows Negan visiting a captive Sasha Williams (who came to the Sanctuary to kill him) and discovers one of his Saviors, David, attempting to rape her. Negan states that rape is against their rules and that he doesn't tolerate such behavior. David apologizes, but Negan rams a knife through his throat, stating he does not "accept his apology". He then apologizes to Sasha and gets her a new T-shirt to replace the one David ripped before complimenting her on her brazen attack. After confirming Rick didn't sanction it, Negan states that she would make a welcome addition to the Saviors, despite his actions against her. He then leaves her with a knife and a choice: kill herself or kill David once he reanimates to show him she's willing to work with him. He later returns to find, to his delight, that she has killed David. He takes the knife back and informs her that she's on the right path before stating he knows Rick is conspiring against him as he has a spy in his midst. He's confident Sasha will be able to help him put an end to Rick's plans.
In the season finale, "The First Day of the Rest of Your Lives", Negan leads a convoy of Saviors to Alexandria with Simon, Dwight, Eugene and Sasha in tow with plans to bring Rick back under his control. He reveals the Scavengers (a group of survivors Rick paid to help them) are actually working for him as they hold Rick at gunpoint. Negan brings a coffin forward and reveals Sasha is inside, stating they can have her back alive and he'll let most of them live if they meet his demands, which include all their weapons, Daryl returned to him and for Rick to pick someone to be killed by Lucille. He opens the coffin to find Sasha has reanimated as a walker. After fending her off, the situation devolves into a gunfight. Negan manages to capture Rick and Carl, and prepares to kill Carl. Unfortunately for Negan, the Saviors are ambushed by Ezekiel and forces from the Kingdom as well as Maggie leading a group from Hilltop. Caught off guard by Rick's reinforcements and rapidly losing men, Negan orders a retreat. Once back at the Sanctuary, he questions Eugene as to how Sasha died in the coffin (suspecting foul play on his part) before declaring to the assembled Saviors that they are going to war.
Negan appears in the season premiere, "Mercy," when Rick leads an army of assembled survivors outside the Sanctuary. More amused than worried, Negan refuses to march his people out to fight Rick just to prove "that my dick is bigger than yours". Rick offers Negan's lieutenants and the Saviors inside the chance to surrender, but states that Negan still has to die. Negan attempts to divide them by bringing out Gregory to order the Hilltoppers to retreat, but this tactic fails. They open fire, decimating the Sanctuary walls, but Negan and his people take cover. They are then surprised by a massive herd of walkers led by Daryl before the gates are blown open and the herd funnels inside. Negan becomes trapped in a trailer with Gabriel. "The Big Scary U" opens in the Sanctuary prior to Rick's attack with Negan meeting with his chief lieutenants discussing strategy. When Simon suggests they wipe out one of the communities entirely, Negan becomes incensed, stating that people are critical to what they're building. He instead wants to capture and publicly execute Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel to cow their people into submission. The episode then returns to Negan and Gabriel in the trailer, discussing their views on survival. When Gabriel tries to get Negan to confess his sins before death, he is evasive until he finally admits his greatest regret was his treatment of his first wife prior to the outbreak, stating she died of cancer and he couldn't put her down. The two manage to escape by "gutting up" and Negan is able reassert control of the spiraling situation in the Sanctuary.
In the mid-season finale, "How It's Gotta Be", Negan returns to Alexandria to counterattack when he's met by Carl (who, unbeknownst to Negan, is dying from a walker bite) who attempts to dissuade him from attacking and even offers to be killed to spare the rest. He asks Negan if this is what he wanted or who he wanted to be, and his words seem to strike a chord. Negan attacks Alexandria anyway, however, and confronts Rick. After a brutal hand-to-hand fight, he throws Rick through a window. Rick retreats into the sewers with Michonne and the rest of the Alexandrians. In "Lost and the Plunderers", Negan meets with Simon to handle the matter of the Scavengers. Simon assumes he wants them exterminated, but Negan instead wants him to give them the standard warning and kill only one, as they are a resource just like the other communities. Rick later contacts him via walkie-talkie, and informs him that Carl is dead and that his last wish was for them to make peace, something Rick sees as impossible. Negan is saddened by the news, stating Carl was the future before asking Rick to surrender, to no avail. In "Dead or Alive Or", Negan begins preparing the Saviors for an attack on Hilltop to end the war. Since their stores of ammunition are low from breaking the prior walker siege, Negan comes up with a plan to use the walker virus to their advantage by coating their weapons in walker flesh, including Lucille. In "The Key", Negan leads a convoy of Saviors to the Hilltop when his car is rammed by Rick who pursues him into an abandoned building. Negan attempts to fight back, but falls through the floor and loses Lucille. Unarmed and being hunted in the dark, Negan attempts to make a deal, offering to forgive Rick's transgressions and reduce the Savior's cut of supplies in exchange for peace. Rick refuses, stating Negan cares for nothing save Lucille, which he then proceeds to light on fire. Negan furiously attacks Rick before the two are surrounded by walkers and flames, forcing Negan to reclaim Lucille and flee — only to be captured by Jadis.
Jadis tortures Negan until he reveals that he had nothing to do with the massacre of her people; he manages to half-coerce, half-talk her down after some struggle into freeing him while she was getting ready to receive a helicopter at the junkyard. He makes his way back to the Savior compound to find that Simon has been ruling in his stead, and is responsible for the bloodshed at Jadis' compound. He regains control by challenging Simon to a fight and killing him with his bare hands, and making Dwight the instrument of his revenge against Rick by forcing him to lure Rick's group into a trap with false information. Michonne contacts Negan via walkie-talkie and reads him a letter Carl wrote him before he died urging a peaceful solution to the conflict; though moved by the message, Negan refuses, and swears he will kill Rick and every last one of his group.
In the season finale, "Wrath", Rick's group shows up to challenge the Saviors. Negan orders his men to open fire, but discovers that Eugene has tampered with their weapons, rendering them helpless. Rick's group kills several of Negan's men, while Rick and Negan have a final battle that ends with Rick cutting Negan's throat open. However, Rick decides to save his enemy's life as he believes it is what Carl would want. Later, Negan recovers in the infirmary in Alexandria, where Rick and Michonne inform him that he will be imprisoned and rot in a cell for the rest of his life, and serve as a reminder that people are capable of change and as evidence that they will bring civilization.
In "The Bridge", Rick goes down a basement to talk to a locked up Negan. He mentions that it's been 35 days since Gregory's execution. He talks about how everything has changed after the war and how the communities are working together on fixing a bridge, which will the link to their future. “We’re making a new beginning,” Rick says smiling with hope. After Rick finishes narrating his story, Negan, sporting a much larger beard than normal, questions when he will be able to have a look at the thriving communities but Rick tells him never and tells him he will die in his cell. Rick claims they are thriving without him to build a future and Negan taunts him about Carl but an angry Rick shuts him up and forbids him from mentioning Carl. Negan responds with a grin: "You're not saving this world, Rick. You just get it ready for me," warning him that the peace between the communities won't last too long and that he will not be locked up forever.
In "The Obliged", Negan is visited by Michonne after he refuses to eat. He says he’ll only eat if she stays to talk to him. She agrees to stay for an hour. Negan tells Michonne he's not meant to be in the cell just as she's not meant to be doing random chores and looking after kids. Michonne shoots back that she's helping rebuild civilization. Negan admits he's happy his wife never got to see him like this, revealing that they wish they had a kid like Carl, but his wife got cancer and the world changed. Michonne says she sees Carl everywhere, and when Negan asks about her own kid, she angrily says Andre didn’t make it. Negan says it's better this way because his wife wasn’t made for the apocalypse. “We were built for more,” he says. Michonne reacts in anger and storms off. A while later, Michonne returns to Negan's cell and acknowledges that they’re similar but distinguishes that her worldview is a lot more positive than his. She finally gets him to eat, and as she leaves he asks her to see Lucille. Michonne tells him they don’t have the bat anymore and leaves smiling. After she leaves, Negan starts to violently bang his head against the wall. In the episode "What Comes After” in Alexandria, Maggie arrives and after convincing Michonne, is let into Negan's cell. He chuckles at her as Maggie demands he get on his knees. From the shadows, Negan taunts Maggie about killing Glenn and begs her to kill him. She opens the cell and slams him against the wall as he begs for death. Sobbing, he admits he wants to die so he can be reunited with his wife Lucille. She tells him to get back to his cell because he is already “worse than dead”.
Six years later in "Who Are You Now?" Negan remains a prisoner in Alexandria but has adopted a much less antagonistic attitude and struck up a friendship with Judith Grimes. Negan helps Judith with math problems and tells her a story from his childhood where he tried to take in stray dogs only for it to go badly for him when she asks for advice with dealing with Magna's group. Judith tells Negan that "it doesn't matter if you're good or bad on the inside, the numbers don't care" causing Negan to smile as she walks away.
In "Evolution," Negan is visited by Gabriel on a weekly basis who tries to help Negan become a better person. Negan taunts that he can hear a lot of things from his window and that Rosita has said some interesting stuff, but not about Gabriel. When Gabriel returns, Negan continues to taunt him until Gabriel reveals that Rosita is at the Hilltop, hurt and Gabriel can't go to her because he has to look after Negan. Negan gives an apparently sincere apology for his behavior upon hearing this, but Gabriel storms out. Later, while playing with his tennis ball, Negan realizes that his cell door is unlocked. With a smirk, Negan departs his cell and escapes.
Negan will appear as a playable character in the fighting video game Tekken 7, added as part of its second season pass sometime in late 2018, with his appearance based on his television counterpart. Jeffrey Dean Morgan will reprise his role.
The character of Negan has been praised by both fans and critics as an antagonist of the series.
IGN on their review of Negan's first appearance, the 100th issue said: "The new villain already looks to be worthy addition to the book's cast. I didn't realize how much I missed having a truly awful antagonist like The Governor in this series until now. The villain's voice is very distinct, allowing Kirkman to toy with a very different approach to dialogue. For a series where the characters sometimes ramble on too much without making a clear point, this character is very much appreciated." On their review for Issue #103, IGN felt Negan was "quickly giving the Governor a run for his money in the villainy department". When Negan's community was explored as well as his relationship with Carl Grimes, it was said that "There's a palpable tension as we wonder what fate Negan has in mind for his young enemy. But even at his most sinister, Negan remains strangely charismatic. It's not difficult to understand how he managed to build such a lofty position for himself, complete with multiple wives and the total devotion of an entire town."
On the Talking Dead, for the sixth-season finale, Morgan stated that soon after Issue #100 was released, he had many fans approach him and told him that he was right for the role of Negan in the show.
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