Proof 'The Walking Dead' Is Setting Negan Up to Take Over

The Walking Dead is subtly setting the stage for Negan to become the next big leader on the AMC [...]

The Walking Dead is subtly setting the stage for Negan to become the next big leader on the AMC series.

Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 9x12 follow. Major spoilers!

After returning to his jail cell, Negan was visited by Michonne for questioning regarding his choice to come back to Alexandria rather than live on the outside as a free man instead of a prisoner. As Negan tried to reason with Michonne (in a scene somewhat pulled from a comic exchange between Rick and Negan), he held a book in his hands which he probably got from her room which indicates he is looking to be a level-headed leader moving forward.

Negan was reading law books according to Talking Dead (as reported by Insider).

This is a strong change to the character of Negan as opposed to his comic book counterpart. In the books, Negan does drop his menace to society attitude in favor of helping Rick Grimes lead the communities. However, he does not drop his sarcastic, F-word laced language in his attempts to become a trusted ally to the communities. In picking up law books, it seems he is trying to learn the ways of civilized leading rather than fear-mongering.

With Michonne set to exit The Walking Dead in the upcoming 10th season, Alexandria will be without a leader. Negan seems like an unlikely choice for this community which has lost friends and family courtesy of his previous actions, but the AMC series seems to have a lot of faith in the character. After all, Jeffrey Dean Morgan did tell he is in it for "the long haul" prior to Season Seven's launch. Such an attitude seems to be a rarity as cast members are making surprising exits from the zombie show left and right these days.

Negan certainly has the chops to lead the community if he can put his savage ways behind him. It's more of a question of whether a storyline can be crafted to give Alexandrians enough faith in the show's former villain to follow his lead. It's hard to imagine Negan filling the inevitable void left by Michonne's absence following Gurira's exit, but he is one of few remaining characters who seem suitable for such an attempt.

Do you think Negan might be the key to The Walking Dead's future? Is the AMC series setting him up to take the lead in making him a more empathetic prisoner than his comic book counterpart? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.