[WARNING: This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead comic and TV show!]
The season 5 finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead promised to really shake things up in season 6. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) has finally found a safe-zone for his people – Alexandria – and, after a whole lot of drama and bloodshed, he’s taken control of the town which is protected by large walls. Right when Rick thinks he has control, his old friend, Morgan Jones (Lennie James) shows up and he has a brand new approach to their post-apocalyptic scenario: no killing allowed. Seeing as Rick is at a point where he can take a life without even blinking, season 6 promises to put philosophical debates right in the spotlight. Do you need to lose your humanity in order to survive in the zombie apocalypse?
With a twisted group of human survivors, the Wolves, lurking beyond Alexnadria’s walls, it’s only a matter of time before a verbal debate between Rick and Morgan turns into horrifying violence involving both human survivors and zombies. While a fair amount of insight has been given into the Wolves and their brutal methods, many comic fans are anxiously awaiting the debut of two characters: Paul Monroe, a.k.a. Jesus, and Negan. Well, it looks like at least Negan could show his face in season 6.
While discussing season 6 of The Walking Dead with EW, showrunner Scott M. Gimple said “‘it’s absolutely a possibility” when asked whether or not Negan could make his “presence felt” by the season finale. Gimple further elaborated, explaining that they absolutely want to eventually bring the character into the AMC show, it’s just a matter of how:
“And when I say it’s a possibility, we have a plan in place, but there’s a couple variables for that plan that we’re deciding about. It really depends on a few factors as we move into setting up the last bit of the season story-wise.”
In the comics, Negan led a group of not-so-friendly survivors called The Saviors. Negan rules through fear, and his weapon of choice is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, which he calls “Lucille”. The villain made his debut in issue #100 and immediately became infamous after viciously killing a fan-favorite character. (Sure, there’s a spoiler warning at the top of the article, but in the event you still don’t know who he kills, we’d prefer not to spoil that for you.)
EW speculates that if Negan shows up, Jesus likely will, too. In the comics, Jesus – given the name because of his appearance and drive to help others – is a skilled fighter (he took on Abraham and Michonne by himself) and becomes a main character. While the TV show does often make changes to keep comic fans guessing, Robert Kirkman, the writer of The Walking Dead comic series, seemed to imply that Jesus (and Negan) is a character they want to bring to the show; it’s just a matter of doing them justice:
“When it comes to characters like The Governor, Michonne, Abraham, and others like Jesus and Negan who are fan-favorite characters in the comics, it’s always a challenge to get it right because it’s those characters—much like Rick Grimes in the beginning—that fans already have a sense of and expectations for. So we’re always careful, and I feel like we’ve done a really good job servicing those fan expectations. Hopefully that trend will continue…if the characters you mention are to appear soon.”
It’s understandable why fans would want to see these two brought into the TV series, but at the same time, it’s important to make sure they aren’t forced in just for fan service. Based on Kirkman and Gimple’s comments, it sounds like they aren’t rushing to include these two – which is promising news for viewers because good things are worth waiting for – but they do indeed have plans for Negan and possibly Jesus. It would be difficult to imagine them introducing Negan without having Jesus established, especially since Jesus plays a noteworthy role in the story. However, since the show often takes a different path than the source material did, it is doable.
Meanwhile, the Television Critics Association 2015 press tour has generated interesting news about The Walking Dead’s upcoming spinoff series, Fear the Walking Dead. According to IGN‘s Eric Goldman, the first season – which consists of 6 episodes – will take place over the course of “about” 3 weeks. Goldman called it a “sucky” time, but given the show will reveal the early stages of the outbreak and how Los Angeles residents are attempting to survive the violent madness, it’s safe to say we all figured it would be a pretty terrible time for all of the unfortunate characters.
Fear the Walking Dead will throw viewers into the early stages of the outbreak, but it will not explain how the outbreak started. That’s probably for the best since an answer to that question isn’t really needed; the show’s about examining how people would respond to such a tragic scenario. As for a potential crossover with The Walking Dead, it was announced at TCA ’15 that a crossover is not planned, but there may be Easter eggs floating around.
Again, that’s understandable since Fear is talking place on the west coast and Rick’s group is on the other side of the country. It would be quite a journey to have both sides meet. That said, if they really wanted to, there’s of course plenty of ways to give nods to certain individuals and it sounds like that’s exactly what the show will do.
Season 6 of The Walking Dead begins October 11, 2015 on AMC; Fear the Walking Dead will debut on AMC on August 23, 2015.