Spoilers for The Walking Dead comics follow.
Many fans of The Walking Dead are hoping to see Negan torn apart by Ezekiel's tiger Shiva. Or maybe they want Daryl to put an arrow through his head. Some might want the Pete Anderson treatment with an outright execution from Rick or, perhaps, Maggie unleashing Lucille on his skull better suits their fancy.
However, none of those wishes are going to come to fruition if The Walking Dead TV series follows its comic book source material, thanks to Robert Kirkman. Instead, the character might see an arc similar to that of Game of Thrones' Jamie Lannister, where every bit of you says "You should hate him," but, still, you're kind of pulling for him.
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Rather than killing Negan, Kirkman is making fans forget their hatred of the character as he all but forces Rick Grimes to actually trust him and become his friend.
Following the war between the Saviors and the rest of the communities, Rick elects not to kill Negan. Instead, he narrowly wins a hand to hand fight with the villain in the middle of a battlefield (coming out of it with a broken leg) and tosses him into an Alexandria jail cell.
For years, Negan rots away in the jail cell, being fed and kept alive by Rick but serving as a symbol of civilization and morality, putting Rick Grimes above his formerly used kill to survive lifestyle. After several years in a cage, Negan escapes prior to the Whisperer War story arc. When many readers expected him to align himself with Alpha, the leader of the savage bunch which lives without rules and walks among the dead, the character betrayed Rick's enemy and cut her head off.
After delivering Alpha's head to Rick, the leader of Alexandria is reluctant to trust the former villain but has little choice when a war ensues. Dwight is put in charge of Negan who marches into battle with no gun and fights alongside the Alexandria army. Dwight is last in line to trust him and Maggie is unaware of his involvement but Negan truly makes a case for his allegiance to Rick.
Later, when the army thought they had defeated the Whisperers, the largest herd of zombies falls upon the Alexandria gates and overruns the community. Negan saves Rick from being devoured and hustles him into a safe place where the most recent issue has the two working together in an effort to survive, as well as Rick saving Negan's life from an approaching zombie.
Would you have ever thought Rick and Negan would save each others lives?
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