In the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan left quite a significant impact on fans. More than just questioning the identity of the person whom Negan beats to death with his signature barbwire bat, loyal viewers have questioned exactly how Rick and his group will be able to survive around such an incredibly dangerous individual. We fully expect that same feeling to surround Morgan's performance throughout Season 7 -- but those of you hoping that the character will emerge as an over-the-top comic book villain may be disappointed.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jeffrey Dean Morgan during the Los Angeles press day for his new movie Desierto - and given that he plays a murderous villain in that film, the subject of Negan and The Walking Dead came up quite easily. Given his personal history with comic book adaptations (Watchmen, The Losers, Jonah Hex, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), I asked if the source material provided some license to go a bit more extreme with his turn as the new villain on the hit AMC show, and he explained that he really couldn't do that and still fit the proper atmosphere the series has developed over the years. Said the actor,
Reflecting on his history in comic book movie making, Jeffrey Dean Morgan drew a comparison to his role as The Comedian in Zack Snyder's Watchmen - a character who was truly drawn straight out of the source material and not so much changed and adapted for a different medium:
Fans have certainly seen some outlandish and insane things happen over the last six years on The Walking Dead, but there is a whole lot of sense in what Jeffrey Dean Morgan is saying about keeping Negan on the grounded and real side of things. While the show is science-fiction/fantasy, what makes it affecting and emotional is the fact that it still feels like it is a reflection of our own world, and that's where the horror comes from. If Negan is too over the top, he ceases to be perceived as a realistic threat, and would hurt the show.
We'll see how it all pans out for Negan and the rest of the Walking Dead folks tonight, as we are now just hours from the Season 7 premiere. Catch it on AMC at 9pm ET, and stay tuned for all of our coverage!
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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