There’s no hard or fast rule that Negan, the ultimate big bad of The Walking Dead, has to take a life when he makes his live-action debut in AMC’s monster hit zombie series. Not technically. But zombie fans are placing bets and dreading losing another one of their favorites to wire-bound Lucille.
You see, in the comic, The Walking Dead issue #100, Negan is a brutal, bat-wielding maniac who leads an outlaw (as far as the apocalypse goes) gang called the Saviors. And that’s him in the show too. But, again, in the comic, Negan made a splash and straight up wrecked poor Glenn, who had just started a family. It was a brutal murder, and his gleeful sarcasm framing Glenn’s suffering was a new level of madness for readers.
The Walking Dead on AMC has also pushed the limits of acceptable gore and violence, even for cable TV. And for a monster like Negan, it can only get worse (better).
Negan is going to kill someone. That much is almost guaranteed. Like a wrathful hurricane, he’s going to leave damage in his wake. But who will be his first victim?
Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t think Glenn will die by Negan. I personally think he’s safe. The Walking Dead used Glenn in a massive bait-and-switch — some would argue foreshadow — that set the fandom ablaze last fall.
Glenn’s death is a spent card they can’t play again. If Glenn is killed by Negan it’s true to the comic, but that plot development worked on paper because no one really saw it coming. We see this one coming a mile away, and it’s taking too damn long. The Walking Dead is better than that.
More likely than Glenn. Until this week’s episode I was willing to bet Maggie — who is now pregnant — to be the heartbreaking casualty by Negan’s Louisville bat. But a questionable miscarriage (?) at the end of this week’s episode undercuts the drama. I mean, sure, Maggie dying would be tragic no matter what, baby or no, but The Walking Dead takes gross pleasure in destroying efforts at happiness. Maggie literally would have been two-for-one. (I’m going to hell.)
Though I don’t think anyone would cry if Gabriel’s skull met a barbed-wire bat, killing a man of faith is a poetic symbol of destroying hope in the apocalypse.
“All life is precious,” says the bo-staff monk. I don’t think Negan would agree.
Abraham, or as I call him Captain America: The Ginger Soldier, has been going through an existential crisis for most of the season hinging upon his conflicted feelings for Rosita and Sasha. He left Rosita but Sasha isn’t having any of it. Not only would Death by Negan clear up his arc, but it’d be a real bummer if a reliable hand in Alexandria died in misery.
Having just attained happiness with Rick, it sets her up perfectly for a gory home run. Though a fan favorite protected by her fandom and merchandise sales (Michonne costumes at Halloween and Comic-Con are popular, and she just had her own spin-off video game), poetically it’d be a real heartbreaker equal to when Glenn ate it in the comic.
Like Glenn, The Walking Dead kinda played this card just this week. While it’s unlikely Daryl — better known as THE FACE OF THIS FRANCHISE — is capital-D dead now, his vulnerable state would be bad way to go. Plus, Negan is probably pissed his men are dead, all because of Daryl’s skills with a rocket launcher.
But don’t bet on it. Daryl is too much of a ratings anchor for them to get rid of him so easily.
Yeah. Uh. Doubt it? I don’t think The Walking Dead could get rid of Rick even if anyone wanted to. But he is the single most important character who’s shown the most growth in the series and continues to. Killing him would be a disservice, unless they’re prepared for Daryl to step up as the show’s legitimate central character.