Why The Walking Dead's Robert Kirkman Never Gave Negan A Last Name

Negan Jeffrey Dean Morgan The Walking Dead AMC

Some people are so iconic they don't need a last name for an audience to recognize them. Prince, Madonna, and Cher all secured that legacy, and The Walking Dead's Negan has arguably earned that honor as well. While the villain has committed plenty of horrific and legendary atrocities throughout the course of the comic book and TV show to earn that one-name title, that's not the reason why creator Robert Kirkman said he never gave Negan a last name. According to Kirkman, such tasks can be kinda boring.

Yeah, I don't know, I do things to entertain myself that, then when the comic gets turned into a TV show, it's super weird. But I just think it's funny to not give characters last names because, I don't know, it's interesting to me. It really doesn't play well on panels though, I'll tell you that much. But when I'm at home and I'm writing, I'm like, 'I'm not doing this,' because you gotta come up with a list of names and then pick one and it's never interesting.

So basically, the biggest villain in the entire Walking Dead franchise doesn't have a distinct surname because Robert Kirkman thought it was more interesting that way. Though it also sounds like Kirkman abhors the process of compiling name pools to choose from, which does not sound like the most entertaining part of writing a zombie series, to his credit. Plus, when your hero has a perfectly crafted name like Rick Grimes, it can be hard to nail it just as perfectly on the flip side.

When speaking to the crowds at this year's Walker Stalker Cruise, Robert Kirkman did relent by offering Negan some fake last names, but only after fans pestered him multiple times with the question. He cracked up the panel with these two potential suggestions for Negan's last name: "Smith" and "Asshole."

Negan's lack of a last name wasn't the only thing about the character Robert Kirkman made definitive, as he also confirmed "Negan" is definitely the villain's first name. (Which would seem obvious by now, considering Negan doesn't have a last name, but still.) But not before Andrew Lincoln and others could craft jokes and theories about Negan being the last name of the Saviors leader, and that the villain's actual first name was something far more embarrassing. That's a shame, as it would be great if the reason Negan carried Lucille was to bash the skulls of anyone who knew his real first name was "Pendleton" or "Effervescence" or something like that.

While Robert Kirkman essentially confirmed revealing Negan's last name is off the table for The Walking Dead when returns to finish Season 8, Jeffrey Dean Morgan said fans will get more insight into the complicated character. Morgan said that no Negan backstory scenes were filmed in Season 8, but that fans will be able to learn a bit more about his character in some one-on-one interactions with other characters. After all, there has to be some more interesting and unknown aspects to Negan's life beyond the fact he doesn't have a last name, right?

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET. For a look at what other shows are coming to television around that time, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.