The Walking Dead: Is Negan Taking Rick's Place in Season 7?

Through the first six seasons of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes has been the undisputed leader. [...]

Through the first six seasons of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes has been the undisputed leader. Even when he was challenged, he rose above and proved that he was in charge of the survivors. Could that power shift to someone else in season seven?

When we last left our hero, he was kneeling in front of a dangerous new foe, Negan. The man gave Rick and his crew some rules to follow if they want to survive, and it doesn't look like they are in any position to refuse. If they don't give Negan half of everything they own, or produce, they are in danger of losing their lives.

Negan Gun

Normally Rick wouldn't stand for this kind of threat, but his back is against the wall. Negan has already killed one of his people, and has threatened to keep the slaughter up if Rick doesn't agree.

It seems as though Rick has lost a hold on all of his power heading into the season premiere, and that begs the question: Is Negan taking Rick's place?

Yes and no.

Negan is definitely taking over in terms of regional leadership. He and his saviors have resources coming from his people's work, the Hilltop, and now Alexandria. Rick would certainly like to do something about it, but Negan just has too much control over too many people.

Remember, Rick tried to go toe-to-tie with Negan, and he failed. His failure is what put the group in their current predicament, knelt at Negan's feet.

Negan may also take Rick's place in terms of influence on Carl.

Yes, Rick will always be his father, and Carl will always come back around to his dad's wisdom, but Negan is intriguing to a young man. The thought of that much power, and that much happiness, will spark curiousity in any teenager.

In the comics, Carl and Negan form a very unique bond. After spending some time together, Negan's lessons begin to resonate with Carl. It sounds odd, but it's easy to forget how impressionable a teenager can be. When Rick is at his weakest point, Carl will have an ear pointed to the Alpha-male in the situation; and he will be better for it.

Rick Carl

With all of this in mind, it's likely that Negan will top Rick in overall screen-time as well. A fan-favorite character, portrayed by a well respected actor, is bound to have a majority of the spotlight. Rick will have plenty to do throughout the season, but Negan will definitely possess the lion's share of the attention.

While Negan will replace Rick in a couple of ways, he will never replace who Rick is to viewers.

Many people will enjoy watching Negan on-screen, just as they have enjoyed reading his character in the comics, but no fan could turn away from Rick Grimes. The man has encompassed everything it means to be a survivor, and his hope for a new world is something that dwells within most of us. Like Superman, Rick is loved by audiences for what it is he represents.

While Negan will make us laugh, and give us some of the most memorable scenes of the series, Rick will always be our number one. He may be down on his luck right now, but the pendulum will swing back his way eventually.

Negan may get more screen-time than Rick in season seven, but it's unlikely he will dethrone Sheriff Grimes as the people's champion any time soon.