You may be shocked to learn that Walking Dead producers actually considered several other big name actors to take on the role of Negan.
I think it’s fair to say that actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan is killing it as Negan (pun intended). As fans of The Walking Dead comic book know, the character of Negan is a pivotal one. Casting the right person to play him on TV was crucial.
While Morgan may have ended up as the perfect choice (and some producers have said he was actually their first choice), they did entertain other options.
ComicBook.com put together a list of five actors who were considered for the role. Some of them are surprising. Others might even make you wonder “what if.” Here’s a look at the five actors in question:
Image Credit: FX
If you never watched Olyphant’s FX series Justified, you need to stop what you’re doing right now. Seriously. You can read the rest of this article later. Go binge-watch the entire show and then come back.
It’s an insanely good show and much of its greatness is due to Olyphant’s performance as lead character Raylan Givens. Prior to that, he garnered a lot of praise for his role on HBO’s Deadwood. (Full disclosure: I haven’t gotten around to watching Deadwood yet).
According to ComicBook.com, Olyphant made it all the way to the testing phase for Negan. I’m obviously an Olyphant fan, but I don’t think he would’ve been the right choice. He would likely have brought a little too much Southern-fried charm to Negan.
Source Credit: Twitter @mattdillon
Dillon was kind of ubiquitous in the 1980s and 90s, starring in hits like The Outsiders and Rumble Fish. To me, he’ll always be the sleazy private detective, Pat Healy, in There’s Something About Mary and the guy who had a threesome with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards in Wild Things.
Apparently, Dillon auditioned for Negan but was passed up in favor of Morgan. Dillon has the acting chops and attitude to bring Negan to life, but again, he would’ve been slightly off the mark.
There’s no real indication that Mad Men star Jon Hamm was under consideration. There was, however, a large outcry from fans that wanted to see him as Negan.
Hamm does somewhat resemble Negan from the comics. He’s also a helluva good actor. But I don’t think there’s any way this could’ve worked out. Just stop for a minute and imagine Don Draper in that leather jacket and red scarf. Picture him parading around with Lucille and giving those obscene speeches. It just doesn’t work.
Source Credit: IMBd
Most recently, Dillahunt was known for his starring role on the FOX sitcom Raising Hope. He’s more widely known for playing villains, though. He played a Terminator on The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and even appeared with Timothy Olyphant on Deadwood and Justified.
Dillahunt was actually a fan of The Walking Dead comics. When it came time to cast Negan, he publically campaigned for the role. Producers actually gave him an audition, but he lost out to Morgan.
I think Dillahunt would’ve been a great Negan. If he’d won the role, we likely wouldn’t be complaining. He wouldn’t have been as great as Morgan, but we would never know that.
Ouch. This one actually stings a little bit.
The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard has admitted that both Negan’s appearance and demeanor in the comic books were inspired by Rollins.
The Black Flag singer has made a name for himself as an actor, recently appearing in a recurring role on Sons of Anarchy.
Still, I have to say, even though Henry Rollins essentially IS Negan, he doesn’t quite have the acting chops that Morgan does.