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The Walking Dead has had some great villains over the years, but the show is really building up the fright factor for the next big bad. Negan is such a notorious character from the comics that even some people who have only watched the show have heard of him and his weapon of choice. The news that Negan will appear by the end of Season 6 is just about as terrifying as it is exciting. In fact, according to Walking Dead executive producer David Alpert, Negan is among the best of the worst.
Negan is one of the greatest villains ever created in TV. It’s the greatest comic book villain I’ve ever read. He’s amazing, he’s terrifying, he’s funny, he’s charming, and the reason why I think he’s so terrifying is he makes a certain amount of sense. Even though he does horrible, horrible horrific things, there’s a certain logic – a barbaric logic, but a logic – to it. I think it’s not just the horrible things he does, it’s the appeal of that logic. It takes a little while to wrap your head around it.
David Alpert’s claim to IGN that Negan is one of the greatest TV villains ever is a bold one, but he definitely has the material to back him up. Just the casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as a man who is both horrifying and logical is enough to prove that Negan will be an incredibly compelling character. The show has selected an actor who knows how to bring nuance, and nuance for Negan promises to be devastating for characters accustomed to fighting against mindless zombies.
The show has also been foreshadowing Negan since the first half of Season 6. Daryl ran into a band of Negan’s Saviors while on his own, resulting in the theft of his crossbow and a bunch of exposition about a leader who demands that followers kneel before him. That was creepy enough, but then one of the major cliffhangers of the midseason finale saw a group of Saviors stopping Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham on the road to tell them that their property belonged to Negan. Daryl may have gotten to blow them all up with a rocket launcher, but it was a sign that Negan is getting closer to meeting up with the Georgia crew.
The most recent episode saw Rick and Co. making a deal with the Hilltop survivors to take out Negan in exchange for half of their resources. Rick and Co. don’t seem particularly nervous about the mission even despite the story of Negan beating a teenager to death "right off the bat." Despite this, we can be fairly certain that one of the good guys will soon be meeting a gruesome fate thanks to Negan’s signature weapon. While Glenn is Negan’s major kill in the comics, the odds aren’t looking too great for Daryl. Negan killing fan favorite Daryl would certainly be a way to immortalize him as one of the greatest villains on television. No matter who meets the maker following a confrontation with Negan, however, we can bet that David Albert wasn’t just boasting about how terrifying Negan can be.
To see more hints of what is to come when Negan arrives, be sure to tune into The Walking Dead on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.