The introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan was a highly consequential new component to the world of The Walking Dead, a move that was as anticipated as it was feared as the tyrannical leader of the Saviors marked his arrival with the brutal beating death of not just one, but two beloved characters. He’s the boss now, but as history teaches us, all tyrants fall in time, and so will it be for Negan. But how will Negan fall? Fans of the comic book Walking Dead know, but they shouldn’t get too attached because the showrunner of the series may be shaking things up.
“This could be a huge departure from the book,” Scott Gimple told ComicBook.com. “This could be it. There might not be a rebellion. I wouldn’t want to say that there absolutely will be one, but I would also say it’s not a crazy thing to posit that. As far as anything that could possibly move him towards that, if that even were to happen, this is definitely a wait and see.”
In the comic book series, shortly after Negan arrives and establishes his dominance, the story arcs “March to War” and “All Out War” part one and two, chronicle how the communities of Alexandria, Hilltop and the Kingdom form an alliance to take down Negan and the Saviors. A bloody climactic battle sees the trio of allies launch an attack on the Saviors’ compound to end Negan’s terror over the area, with the good guys winning though at an enormous cost. Considering how notoriously cheap AMC can be with its shows, even top-rated shows with the viewership most broadcast networks would kill for, it seems unlikely that they would splurge on a Game of Thones style battle royale between Rick and Co against Negan and the Saviors. So what happens when it comes time for the epic face-off?
“The comic is absolutely the basis for the story moving forward and I’ve always followed the belief of following the story from the book,” Gimple added. “That said, accentuating it in places and extrapolating things that are maybe even just mentioned in the book, playing them out even more fully, and then taking different elements from the book and sort of assigning them to different places really just to bring about some of the feelings and reactions I had when I initially read the book.”
The show has deviated a lot from the series in terms of certain characters living beyond their comic book deaths, with others dying well before, but tiptoeing around the war against Negan would be quite the departure. In so much as Gimple might want to preserve the experience of reading the comics for fans, he should keep in mind what happened when he turned Negan’s first kill into a cliffhanger…
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.