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Relatively few characters in fiction boast “potty mouth” as one of their top three descriptors, and it goes without explicitly saying that few characters in fiction are quite like The Walking Dead’s Negan. The brutal comic character has been looming across the show for the past season or so, and we’ll finally get to see him in the Season 6 finale. Or perhaps more importantly, we’ll get to hear him, and they have a perfect idea to get his excessively foul language to fans: filming two different versions of Negan’s introductory scenes.
That’s as good as I could have hoped, since I actually expected there to just be one or two cleverly placed (and bleeped) F-bombs that implied he had a filthy mouth, but without him having to actually curse all the time. Fuck that garbage, though. Showrunner Scott Gimple and director/executive producer Greg Nicotero knew what was up, and they have Jeffrey Dean Morgan doing his initial scenes in two ways. One with a tighter rein on the dialogue, and one where the actor is allowed to get wild and crazy with it. Here’s how creator Robert Kirkman explained the still-in-motion decision.
I would say that there are certain words that try as I might, we are not allowed to say on AMC, and those are certain words that Negan likes to say. So those words are going to be filmed, and people are going to be able to get those words, but there are definitely some broadcast limitations that we’re going to have to deal with. We’re sorting that out now, but I will say that, worst-case scenario, the extras will be extra-special on Blu-ray. I mean, we’re trying to explore some other more interesting options, but that’s the bare minimum of what we’ll be doing.
Sure, this won’t be like The Walking Dead getting moved over to HBO or Starz for an episode, and we likely won’t get anything too flagrant during the live airing. But if there’s a way to watch The Walking Dead deliver a Negan that truly mirrors the comic version, rather than just being a watered-down replica, I’m taking it no matter what it is. I will easily watch those scenes over again on Blu-ray to get the more extreme version. Perhaps it’s bothersome that I like Negan so much, but I’m not alone, so I can’t be the worst example. That’s social math.
To drive expectations up even more, Gimple explained to EW that his goal is for people to get “full-octane Negan” one way or another. Which means we might get to hear dialogue like this.
First introduced by name last year, Negan will arrive and completely change how Rick & Co. are used to dealing with the post-apocalypse and its deadly threats. Violence will ensue, and lives may be lost. And hopefully we’ll get to tap into his backstory at some point.
In Season 4, The Walking Dead dropped the unedited “They’re fucking with the wrong people” scene online after the censored version aired, and AMC gave Breaking Bad one or two censored F-bombs a season. Over on FX, though, American Crime Story’s Sarah Paulson got to drop a “motherfucker” at the tail end of a recent episode, which was pretty shocking, but it’s unclear just how often we’ll see that kind of thing happen. Could Negan be the next character to open the floodgates for four-letter words on TV? We fucking hope so. “Hope” was the four-letter word in question there.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.