The Walking Dead Season 7 has officially premiered on AMC. The question of the year has been answered. We're no longer dealing with wondering who it is that Negan killed but, instead, trying to cope with our losses.
However, in the midst of Negan's first interactions with Rick and the Alexandria group, Rick made Negan a fierce promise. He knelt in the wake of disaster and made a promise to Negan which most viewers are certainly hoping to see him keep.
"I'm gonna kill you," Rick said. "Not today. Not tomorrow. But I'm gonna kill you."
The words Rick delivered following the death of a close friend were ripped straight from the pages of Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comics. More specifically, the dialogue was part of Negan's infamous issue #100 entrance.
On the TV series, we have seen Rick make such a promise before. In the Season 5 premiere, Rick appeared to have absolutely no way out of Terminus as Gareth threatened to kill him and all of his friends. Nonetheless, Rick promised to use the machete as his weapon of choice to kill Gareth. Within three episodes, he did just that.
This won't be the case with Negan and the Saviors.
Not only are Negan's Saviors much more of a threat than the Hunters but Alexandria will have to rally other communities for a joint march to war if they're going to have any chance at toppling the tyrant. Such war plans and attacks will play out over the course of multiple seasons rather than just a couple of episodes.
When the smoke clears and Rick is hopefully left standing, will Negan be dead?
If we're going by the comics, the answer is "No."
There will be a lot of disheartening casualties in the war between Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom and the Saviors but Negan and Rick will not be among the fatalities. Instead, they will duke it out in front of their respective armies. While Negan will cause a significant break in Rick's leg, it's Rick who will come out on top and jail Negan.
That's right. Negan will be tossed into an Alexandrian jail rather than killed. It's a move Rick makes to show all of the communities that humanity can prevail and he is a better man than the savage, foul-mouthed Negan.
An interesting dynamic shift takes place between The Walking Dead's heavy hitters later in the books. Rick eventually takes advice from the ruthless villain and uses it to rally the Alexandria community against a new and even more formidable and terrifying threat than the Saviors. Having gained a bit of trust, Negan currently serves as an anti-hero type of character in the Whisperer War arc of the comics.
Rick is yet to fulfill his promise.
To put Negan's lifespan into perspective, issue #159 was printed most recently which would take until at least Season 10 to be achieved on television.
All things considered, it is possible for the comic book Negan to outlive the TV Negan. Several characters on television who are main players in the comcis have been extinct for years, the most noteworthy being Andrea.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.