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At this point during The Walking Dead's live-action run, we have only just gotten to know the sometimes homicidal and sometimes slightly less homicidal villain Negan. But he's been around in the comics for a long time. And while we all know that Negan is most famous for bludgeoning a major character to death, it is far less common knowledge that Negan had a completely different name when he was first conceived: Nagus. Sci--fi TV fans might notice something familiar about that.
While speaking during The Walking Dead's Skybound panel at Comic-Con this week, creator Robert Kirkman was asked about the origins of some of the more obscure names that he has given his characters, and here's how he explained coming up with Negan's name, long before he was ever brought to the page.
Every now and then I just make up a word and then I look it up and it's a name. . . . So he was Nagus for a long time, and then I realized that the Ferengi high commander on Deep Space Nine was called the Grand Nagus. And I was like, 'Oh, that's where I got that! Oh, okay. Uhh, maybe he's Negan.' So that's how that happened.
So there you have it, everyone. One of the most vicious (and equally hilarious, in a morbid way) villains in all of modern fiction almost shared a name with one of the most wrinkly and big-eared aliens to ever not really exist. Not that the characters are completely different. Grand Nagus's biggest strengths involved how he handled political and economic situations, and though Negan will often come across as a completely selfish character, he didn't become the head honcho of such a large and organized group by sloppy decision-making.
Robert Kirkman is one of those kinds of creators who doesn't mind pulling back the curtain on how he has handled characters and plotlines in the past, so long as it doesn't interfere with the future of the story. We know about who he's wanted to keep around and how he's wanted to handle other plot-related elements, and now we know even more about the origins of Negan. And the real ones, too, not just the recent comic arc that's giving readers a peek into what the bat-wielding tyrant was like before the infection took over the world.
A name is just a name, sure, but I don't know if I would be as into Negan if his name was Nagus, even if there wasn't the Deep Space Nine connection. The name sounds like something you do just before hocking a loogie. But I guess I wouldn't have much by way of snarky backtalk if he was threatening to slide his genitalia down my throat. Ah, that Negan.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC to clear up its cliffhanger one way or another when Season 7 premieres in October. Head to our handy guide to catch up on everything about the new season while you wait, and you can find everything hitting the small screen later this year with our fall premiere guide.