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For much of The Walking Dead's Season 6 run, conversations among fans increasingly hovered around the introduction of comic book menace Negan, and though there was almost universal praise for the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, that meant so many other possibilities were put aside. And believe it or not, one of those top possibilities was none other than multi-hyphenate entertainer Henry Rollins.
The former frontman for Black Flag and the Rollins Band, Henry Rollins looks like just the kind of guy who would make good for himself in a post-apocalyptic setting, not just with his brutish stature but also because he's outspoken and knows how to work crowds. In fact, the activist and former talk show host was the actual inspiration for The Walking Dead illustrator's vision for Negan. Here's how that almost led to a very different Season 6 cliffhanger, according to Rollins.
I was up for the role of Negan because Charlie Adlard, who worked on the comic book, based that guy on me and so I was a shoo-in for an audition. The internet was wild with speculation because in the upcoming season they were going to introduce the character. A woman that works in my office put my name and the character's name into an internet search and all this speculation came up. I went for the audition and there were five pages of really cool dialogue with all these curses and it was beautiful, but I didn't get it....I had to sign one of those documents where you can't talk about it but now it's over and done with... so yeah, I was up for that part.
Oh, to be able to call upon The Flash to take us to different Earths, so that we may experience both Morgan AND Rollins in the role of Negan for Season 7. Maybe there are a couple out there where Jason Statham and Shaq are twin versions of Negan. That'd be something, right?
So yes, it's somewhat unfortunate that Henry Rollins didn't nab the role of Negan, as he's proven his worth as an actor over the years for projects such as Sons of Anarchy (where he played a neo-Nazi), Lost Highway, and more. He's also quite accomplished as a voice actor, having won a BAFTA for his work on The Legend of Korra, and he's appeared on everything from Adventure Time to Batman Beyond to American Dad. Rollins also told Forbes that he auditioned for Netflix's Narcos and other "great" stuff, but admitted the roles he actually gets are usually those meant specifically for him.
So even though we won't be seeing Henry Rollins' mean mug ruling over the Saviors when _The Walking Dead returns to AMC this fall, at least we know that Charlie Adlard's initial vision for the tyrannical leader was almost realized. Now someone learn from this and make sure that Simon Pegg will definitely join the cast of The Boys for the role that he inspired.