There’s no doubt that Negan is by far the most ruthless villain the heroes of The Walking Dead have ever faced. But from Negan’s point of view, is he really a villain? After all, Rick and the group did kill an entire outpost full of Negan’s men without provocation.
Negan the Sweetheart
In a recent ABC News interview, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan (who plays Negan), was asked what The Walking Dead would have been like if Negan were the hero we’d followed since Season 1 instead of Rick.
“Well, I think then that’s easy ’cause Negan would be our hero, and no one would be mad at Negan right now. Or scared of Negan possibly,” said Morgan. “They would just think, “Wow, what a guy! Look at how he keeps everyone alive! He’s so funny and sweet, I love his baseball bat.”
Morgan is clearly being humorous but for the most part, he’s right. We don’t know the full backstory behind how Negan became the leader of the Saviors, but it would probably look a lot like how Rick led his own group.
What we can infer is that Negan recruited a large group of followers, promising them protection. He then set up an elaborate set of rules, allowing his new community to live in harmony.
It’s what happened next that makes things a little messy.
Negan apparently set up deals with surrounding communities, offering the protection of his Saviors against the walkers and other threats. In return, the communities would provide food and supplies to the Saviors.
Negan doesn’t appear to have given those communities any choice. They either took the deal or Negan killed enough people to force them into changing their minds.
A Troublesome Anti-Hero
We still don’t know exactly what happened to the men of Oceanside. According to what Tara was told, at the community they lived in before Oceanside, Negan lined the men and boys up and shot them all. Did they make some sort of aggressive move that would warrant such action? Probably not. Negan’s just a violent guy.
There’s also the issue of Negan’s wives. While he’s not physically abusive to them, he is mentally abusive and threatening. He could rightly be accused of being a sexual predator.
So, yes, if we’d followed Negan instead of Rick for the past seven seasons, he would be the hero of the show. But just because you’re a protagonist, doesn’t make you a true hero.
What thoughts run through your head when you imagine how things might look different on The Walking Dead if Negan were the hero?