Currently in its world-building seventh season, The Walking Dead has its core survivors under the brutal thumb of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, the latest in a line of disturbed individuals going head-to-head with Rick. It wasn't so long ago when David Morrissey was attempting to conquer the post-apocalypse as The Governor, and when the actor recently spoke with CinemaBlend to promote Season 2 of Starz's insanely good mystery drama The Missing, he splendidly gave his thoughts on both the current big bad and who the ultimate Walking Dead villain is.
I don't think there's a world where Negan and The Governor can exist together. I think they would have to take each other on, and you know, it's obvious that there would be one winner in that, and that would be The Governor. I don't think there's any sane person that would argue against that. The Governor is the ultimate villain in the show and there's been people that have come in and have sort of pretended to be like him, but no one's ever going to take that crown. And I think Negan certainly isn't going to take it. He's bad, but no one was like The Governor.
I'd love to see the look on the person's face who really expected David Morrissey to say that Benedict Samuel's leader of the Wolves was the greatest Walking Dead villain. Not today, buddy! Someone else was on the actor's mind for the end-all and be-all of Walking Dead villainy...himself. But it's not like this is just an issue of pride or arrogance, since The Governor was one(eyed) bad sumbitch and served as the biggest overall threat for the protagonists before Negan brought Lucille to town.
But I don't know that I'd go so far as to agree that only insane people would argue against The Governor being the top dog, though I definitely didn't debate it with David Morrissey in our talk. I'm not crazy! But I am viewing things through the prism of the comic book, so if we scale things down so that only show footage is considered, then The Governor starts to stand out that much more. And even though Negan started things off by braining Glenn and Abraham, he has a ways to go before taking out as many main characters as Morrissey did by proxy.
The Governor definitely had some megalomaniacal problems, to be sure, but like Negan, he led a large community long before Rick started. While there was always strife to be had, Philip Blake kept a lot of that on lockdown, sometimes by offering up not so morally sound ways to find entertainment. But looking back, was Woodbury and the rest that much more horrible than what Negan has already shown us in the Sanctuary? I don't think so. I mean, his daughter Penny being leashed, maybe, but he wasn't feeding her dog food. In any case, The Governor was definitely an old world dictator who didn't always just look for ways to fuck with people like Negan does, which made him more measured and less impulsive, and those are traits that explain how he stayed a Walking Dead villain for as long as he did.
Of course, even though David Morrissey gamely boasted about The Governor's ranks within the Walking Dead's rogues gallery, he did take a second to champion actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan's work...right before taking Negan right back down again. Here's what else he told me.
Of course, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and I did a show together here in L.A. called Extant, and we're real friends. I love him, and I think he's a fantastic man and a great actor. I think he's killing it, and he did a great job. But as far as the story is concerned, there can only be one badass that can rule The Walking Dead.
I pictured him blasting a gun into the air and hollering as he was saying that, even though it wasn't happening. Just like The Governor isn't happening by The Walking Dead any time soon to bring any more tragedies to Rick's crew. Negan is definitely still there, though, and he'll be back in our lives when The Walking Dead returns to AMC for the back half of Season 7 on Sunday, February 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Before that, however, David Morrissey can currently be seen in Starz's timeline-jumping mystery drama The Missing Season 2 - glowing review here - where he plays a military father whose life is turned upside down with the complication-filled return of a daughter who had gone missing eleven years previous. It's a role that is as intense as The Governor, featuring the same kind of protective fatherly tendencies, but in a completely different twist-driven situation. Episode 1 is available through the network's mobile app and On Demand service right now, and it will premiere on Starz proper on Sunday, February 12, at 8:00 p.m. ET, and all eight Season 2 episodes will be available for binge-happy folks On Demand and on the app that night after 12:00 a.m. ET And in the meantime, head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what other shows are returning and premiering in the coming months.