Negan has finally appeared on The Walking Dead, and audiences everywhere are mesmerized by Jeffery Dean Morgan's take on the character.
After Negan appeared in The Walking Dead comics in issue #100, fans of the book series have been waiting for the live action iteration of the character to appear on screen. From the reactions so far this season, it looks like Negan was worth the wait.
Jeffery Dean Morgan has been hailed for his performance, with many believing he is a near-perfect adaptation of the character. His charm, charisma, and wit are a perfect match for Negan's tone, and JDM has set a new standard for adapting comic characters.
It may be hard to believe, but Jeffery Dean Morgan wasn't always the first choice to play Negan. A number of Hollywood stand-outs were considered for the role, and many even had an audition.
Fans are relieved Morgan got the part, but it's interesting to think about who else could have played the character.
Click through the slideshow to see five actors who were close to landing coveted role.
Timothy Olyphant is a veteran TV actor, and has played a rough-and-tumble character on multiple successful series'.
Olyphant first rose to prominence with his starring role on the former HBO series, Deadwood. He played opposite Ian McShane as the gritty Sheriff Seth Bullock.
Olyphant followed Deadwood with his acclaimed performance as the Raylan Givens on the FX hit series, Justified. In both of these shows, Olyphant showed signs that he would perform well as Negan.
The actor made it all the way to the testing phase for the Negan role before being told the part was going to Jeffery Dean Morgan.
Many fans will recognize Henry Rollins for his villainous role as AJ Weston in the acclaimed FX biker drama, Sons Of Anarchy. Rollins, however, made a name for himself long before SOA ever aired.
Henry Rollins became famous as the singer of the punk band Black Flag, and transitioned into acting. He's also made appearances public speaking and as a stand-up comic.
This casting decision would have been intriguing, and made a lof of sense for The Walking Dead, because the original iteration of Negan was based on Rollins' appearance.
Walking Dead comic artist Charlie Adlard has revealed, on multiple occasions, that Henry Rollins inspired much of Negan's style.
Matt Dillon was a superstar to audiences throughout the 80s and 90s. He starred in films like The Outsiders, Wild Things, and Something About Mary.
In recent years, Dillon had fallen out of the public eye for a bit. He appeared in films and television shows here and there, but no prominent roles to speak of.
Dillon ended his cold streak in 2015 when he nabbed the starring role on the Fox mystery-thriller, Wayward Pines.
The actor made it all the way through to the audition stage when pining for the part of Negan. It's unclear on how the audition went, but Jeffery Dean Morgan obviously had a better one.
Perhaps the biggest name on this list, Jon Hamm was an audience-favorite for the role of Negan.
The Mad Men star has proven, time and again, that he can take a dark turn. His role as Don Draper earned him an Emmy Award, and he stole the show with his role in Ben Affleck's cop drama, The Town.
What made Hamm a great choice for Negan, however, is his ability to portray dark comedy. His roles on Bridesmaids, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Children's Hospital, and others showed that his comedic timing and dark side have a great relationship.
When it was announced that Jeffery Dean Morgan was being given the role, fans of Jon Hamm were devastated.
Garret Dillahunt is no stranger to playing villains. The actor portrayed a Terminator on the Sarah Conner Chronicles, and starred opposite Joseph Gordon Levitt in Looper.
Dillahunt, like Timothy Olyphant, has also appeared in Justified and Deadwood.
The actor was one of the few who actually campaigned for the role of Negan when it was announced he would appear on the show. Dillahunt has always been a big fan of The Walking Dead, and he was giving his all to get the role.
After tweeting his desire to play the part, Dillahunt was given an audition. The moment was short-lived though, as Jeffery Dean Morgan was given the part only days later.
Many actors were considered for the role of Negan, but fans are ecstatic that Jeffery Dean Morgan beat them all out. He's clearly best for the part, and audiences can't wait to see what he will do with it in years to come.