AMC’s The Walking Dead has just two episodes left before the big season 6 finale, and the latter half of the season has been ripe with killer action and shocking character deaths. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of ragtag survivors have been hunkering down in Alexandria, hoping to make things work there long-term.
The vicious rival group, known as the Saviors, have been one of the more recent roadblocks to the survivors’ desire for a functional and relatively peaceful existence. Fans have been anticipating the television emergence of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the brutal leader of the Saviors, and have also been wondering how faithful to the comic books its going to be.
The entire second half of season 6 has been building to the finale where fans will finally get to meet the elusive Negan for the first time. A recent Entertainment Weekly interview with showrunner Scott M. Gimple shed some light on how much the television series is taking into account the comic book origins of this much anticipated villain:
“Let me put it this way: Whatever it is, it’s really just all in service to being faithful to the comic book inasmuch as one can. That’s always going to be relatively subjective as to what that means. But taking inspiration from the moments of the comic book and playing them out to the ends of what it can be, it’s all just like taking that moment from the book and figuring out a way to turn it up to get those feelings that it gave you and those emotions that it gave you that much more.
“Sometimes we have things from the book that people who read the comics maybe see coming a mile away, and we try to adjust that so that we can give them the same feeling they had when reading the book, which might have been shock or surprise or fear, any of those things. It might be wildly different, but it’s all to get the same sort of feelings that you got when you read them. So will it be different? Absolutely. Will it be the same thing? Absolutely.”
Whether it’s the “explosive” incident on the road with Daryl (Norman Reedus), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) or the all-out blood war that had to be declared on them in their own compound, the Saviors have been the focus of The Walking Dead ever since the hit zombie-crushing series emerged from its mid-season break. Fans were obsessed over the appearance of The Governor (David Morrissey) early on in the series, a villain whose live action run was met with mixed reviews from comic book purists. Where The Governor was a distinguished leader at times that was prone to violent outbursts, Negan is unabashed aggression and all-out brutality.
In the comic books Negan serves as the warlord leader of The Saviors, as they extort and exploit other groups of survivors. He is known for being decisive and brutal, carrying around a barbed-wire wrapped baseball bat. In contrast, he can also be rational when it comes to negotiating peace accords, especially when it’s with those he considers to be useful.
The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘East’ @9:00 PM on AMC.