AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead is gradually working its way back to our TV screens for season 5, so what better time to look to the future of the massively popular horror show? The show loosely follows the path laid out by Robert Kirkman’s comics—at least in terms of big plot points like Hershel’s farm, the prison, the Governor, though they all appear with enough tweaks and changes so they’re not carbon copies of one another. So those of us who know the story are constantly waiting to see our favorite bits and pieces, and we now have news about one of the most notorious villains Kirkman has ever dreamed up.
Aside from the Governor, the biggest single villain Rick Grimes and his group of survivors is Negan, and it’s starting to sound like we could see him sooner rather later. Executive producer Dave Alpert recently gave an interview, oddly enough to AMC, the show’s host network. He talked about a great number of things, like his favorite moments, working with Kirkman on the sci-fi movie Air (which stars The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus), and various things Kirkman added to the show that he wishes, in retrospect, could have been in the comics.
Here’s what Alpert had to say about Negan:
It’s more like things in the comic that I can’t wait to get to. I cannot wait until we introduce Negan. He is just like the coolest fucking character on the planet. You thought the Governor was bad news?
That about sums it up, he’s bad fucking news. Negan is the leader of a group called the Saviors, and they’re violent, vicious, and sadistic, travelling the countryside, extorting communities of survivors, leaving trail of bodies, including those of some very major characters, in his wake. He is the very definition of a nasty piece of work. Hell, his weapon of choice is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire named Lucille, and he’s got a seriously unhealthy relationship with her.
Given the current trajectory of The Walking Dead, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say he could even show up as early at the end of the upcoming season 5. Maybe it would be like the end of season 2, where Michonne shows up right at the end as a tease for fans of the comics. How badass would that be, the last thing you see in season 5 is this shadowy figure standing there holding a baseball bat. I might stand up and cheer like I did when they first showed Michonne.
We’ve seen reports and photos of a set the production built where a high wall surrounds a residential area outside of Atlanta. Many, myself included, assume that this is some version of the Alexandria Safe Zone, which is one of the next steps of the ongoing adventure, comics wise. It also figures prominently in the bulk of what comes after this rough point that we’re at in the series.
After the main core has been settled in there for a while—there are a fair share of adventures to be had in the interim—is when Negan and his cronies show up. As you can imagine, Rick doesn’t take kindly to this intrusion, and the two come blows, hard and brutal and often. This could signal a whole new level of darkness and ruthlessness for The Walking Dead. Should be fun.