How Negan Will Affect Carl On The Walking Dead

On The Walking Dead, the relationships between the characters are as important a dynamic to the narrative as the ghoulish walkers always threatening to maul everyone, from Rick and Morgan to Glenn and Maggie to Daryl and Buttons the horse. Viewers can expect a new connection spark up in the future in an unlikely place, as the hyper-violent villain Negan will share a unique relationship with Carl Grimes. Hard to say who’s got it worse in that situation, amirite?

While talking about what fans will get to see when the second half of Season 6 gets here, Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln gave us our first hint that the show will apparently be adhering to the comics when it comes to the pair. Slight spoilers below the quote.

I'm interested in the relationship between Negan and Carl and Carl and Rick. There's a very complicated, extraordinary psychology between those characters.

Sadly, we probably won’t get to see Carl and Negan getting chummy any time soon, as the expletive-spewing leader of the Saviors won’t be showing up until the Season 6 finale, which won’t give him much time to do more than kill someone with his trusty baseball bat Lucille. But in Season 7 and beyond, the two will create a strange bond born from fear and respect.

In the source material, the injured Carl tries unsuccessfully to take Negan down, but instead of getting extremely pissed off, Negan is blown away by the bravery and basically takes on the role of Carl’s batshit-crazy-but-weirdly-wise uncle. This lasts well into future issues, though it’s not necessary to get into those details as not to spoil everything for non-readers. So let’s just hope that we’ll get to see the following moment in live-action.


When you take into account how close Carl and Negan will get, at least relatively, then it becomes obvious that Rick is going to have some major problems. (Rick has problems with 95% of things anyway, but this should be a major cause for concern.) Carl has always had a complicated relationship with Rick on the show, never quite getting treated as the adult he considers himself to be, and having Rick bossing him around about whom he can and can’t talk to will likely make Carl even more rebellious. If Negan is indeed the “brutal beyond words sociopath” that Lincoln told TV Insider he is, then Carl shouldn’t want to hang around him anyway. But you know how kids are. (studio audience laughter)

But before any long talks or big brawls happen with Negan, we’ll be getting a lot more Daryl and the rest when the remainder of Season 6 kicks off on Sunday, February 14 on AMC. To see when everything else is returning and debuting in the coming months, check out our list of midseason TV premieres.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.