One of the biggest characters from The Walking Dead comic book series is finally making his way to television. Earlier this month, it was revealed that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was cast as Negan on The Walking Dead.
While AMC hasn’t officially commented on the matter, Morgan himself and a number of The Walking Dead cast members have confirmed the casting. In an appearance on The Chew, Morgan said, “You may see me this season and then next year you'll see me, as well. If you're familiar with the comic books, it's a role of a guy named Negan who sort of just kicks everybody's ass.”
At a Supernatural fan convention, Morgan elaborated, “I think the challenge for me in this role is going to be: Is there any heart in Negan? And for me, I look at that as a challenge as an actor and that's the kind of thing I embrace and really look forward to. I'm super-excited about it. It's going to be cool. I promise you, it will be something different than what you've seen me do.”
Not only is Morgan super-excited, but his fellow Walking Dead castmates have also expressed their enthusiasm. Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon, told IGN, “Knowing Jeffrey, he fits perfectly, and I think that he will knock this role right out of the park.” Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, also offered up his praise of Morgan when talking to The Wrap. Lincoln said, “I’ve met him and he’s a very nice guy and a terrific actor. I know he’s going to be an incredible asset to the show. And he’s also extremely excited. He told me he’s been a fan of the show for years and he can’t wait to sink his teeth into the role.”
As far as when Negan will debut on The Walking Dead, it has not been officially confirmed. However, given that Morgan’s casting as Negan happened around the time the Season 6 finale was being filmed, it’s a good bet that his first appearance will be in the Season 6 finale.
However, it’s also likely that viewers will hear about Negan, before he is introduced. In the “Always Accountable” episode of The Walking Dead, several new people were introduced who tie into Negan. In the woods, Daryl met Dwight, his wife Sherry, and his sister-in-law Tina. In the comics, Dwight is a member of Negan’s group the Saviors. While Dwight’s face appeared normal on the TV series, Negan burned half of his face with an iron in the comic book series.
While Tina died during the episode, Dwight and Sherry both escaped with Daryl’s motorcycle and crossbow. In the comics, Dwight’s weapon of choice is the crossbow, so he will likely have become proficient with the crossbow by the next time he’s shown on the series. It’s also possible that the ironing of his face might occur with his next appearance. Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight, tweeted that he was returning to Georgia to take part in filming for the Season 6 Finale, so we do know that he will return.
The "Always Accountable" episode of The Walking Dead also introduced some other likely members of Negan's group of Saviors. There were a group of men, two of whom were named Wade and Cam, who were chasing Dwight. To learn more about Negan's history from the comics, watch the video below.
The Walking Dead airs on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on AMC.