With one swift swing (followed by another and then another and another – you get the picture) of a bat wrapped in barbed wire, fans of The Walking Dead had their lives turned upside down as the season 7 premiere finally aired on AMC. In, easily, one of the most anticipated moments in television history, a group of characters who had grown to be strong and secure were completely broken without the bat of an eye.
That kind of power could only come from one man, the worst villain in TWD history, the one, the only – Negan. A man who commands power just by his stance and strikes fear with his voice and presence, Negan is ruthless and terrifying at the same time that he gives off a twisted sense of charm and charisma. Negan’s character is meant to be a walking definition of evil, but as he comes to life on screen he brings with him a sense of humility that could only be captured perfectly by the actor who portrays him.
So when it was time to pick a man who commandeers the respect of anyone, barks requests only to have people falling at his feet to complete them, and somehow still keeps fans wanting more – even in their anger and confusion – one name came to mind. Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
‘Eeny meeny miny mother fu**** moe’
Jeffrey Dean Morgan took on his first Walker Stalker Convention in Atlanta and his first convention with The Walking Dead since the season 7 premiere one week ago. It was an important weekend for him and the fans alike as they began to navigate new life with Negan calling the – quite vicious – shots after killing Glenn and Abraham, two fan favorite characters played by two beloved cast members.
Some would think that greeting a room full of fans who are, quite frankly, angry and blaming most of life’s problems on your existence would be a bit intimidating, but Jeffrey approached his first panel with confidence, suaveness, and just enough villain to make his panel unforgettable.
When it comes to playing Negan, Jeffrey said he loves the role – maybe a little bit too much – and took many opportunities to answer questions through his first panel with snark, pride, and sensationalism as he channeled his inner, and at times all encompassing, spirit of Negan. He laughed when the brutal deaths were mentioned, talked about Lucille and how he sleeps with the bat (we can see it), and spoke of a cast in tears as they mourned the deaths of Glenn and Abraham – all except him.
While it’s clear that even in his most ‘Negan’ moments, he’s still got a soft exterior, it’s incredible to both watch and listen to how easily he takes on the role of super villain.
Greg Nicitero joined Jeffery for his panel and he too backed up how effortlessly Jeffrey took on the role of Negan and how no one would have handled it more beautifully. Negan, both on-screen and in the pages of TWD comic books is a performer who steals the spotlight – sometimes without trying – and Jeffrey seems to do the same.
If you missed Negan’s first panel after the season’s premiere or if you’d just like to watch it again – check it out for yourselves here. We could sing his praises (it’s a bit twisted, we know) all day, but there’s nothing like seeing it yourself.
The world of The Walking Dead won’t ever be the same, and now more than ever, we’re intrigued and a bit nervous for what exactly that means. The one thing we all know is that Negan is here to stay and it’s hard to totally hate that idea.