Caution: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead
The Walking Dead will finally deliver All Out War, but that doesn't mean Rick should kill Negan. The zombie drama is set to return this week after a mid-season break and there are plenty of dangling plot threads in need of resolution. The most pressing matter is, of course, the fate of Carl Grimes after it was revealed in the mid-season finale that Rick's son had suffered a fatal zombie bite, but the fates of characters such as Gabriel, Aaron, Edith and Morgan are also very much unresolved for a variety of reasons. Ultimately, however, The Walking Dead Season 8 will boil down to a single choice. Should Rick kill Negan?
Realistically speaking, every viewer knows that Negan isn't going walk out of Season 8 victorious. The Walking Dead might be one of the most depressing shows on television but if the current season concluded with Rick's death and Negan reigning over all, there wouldn't be much of a show left for the already-announced Season 9. As such, it's not so much a matter of whether Rick will beat Negan, but whether or not he'll kill him once the war is finally over.
Comic readers will already know that Negan's print incarnation does indeed survive All Out War and is still knocking around as of the latest issue, but it is far from guaranteed that Jeffrey Dean Morgan's on-screen villain will do the same. Rick certainly has plenty of justification for killing Negan - and has promised to do so on multiple occasions - but there are a number of reasons why The Walking Dead would benefit from keeping Negan alive. Here's why Rick Grimes shouldn't kill his sworn nemesis.
This Page: Negan's Survival Would Match The Comics
Saving Negan Maintains Comic Continuity
Negan's arrival in The Walking Dead was highly anticipated, largely thanks the immense popularity of the character with comic fans, but the AMC interpretation of the bat-wielding baddie hasn't enjoyed quite the same level of adulation. This, combined with the fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan hasn't got a history of being a TV regular, may suggest that Scott M. Gimple and his fellow producers could break from comic continuity and have Rick kill Negan at the climax of All Out War.
But now more than ever, The Walking Dead should be attempting to maintain as much continuity with the comics as practically possible. The imminent death of Carl Grimes marks the show's most significant departure from its source material to date and although producers have promised that The Walking Dead will use other characters to fill in Carl's storylines, the series has lost a key element. Perhaps more worryingly, the rumors that Maggie actress, Lauren Cohan, also plans to quit the show refuse to subside and, if proven true, The Walking Dead would be deprived of another character vital to its future.
As such, Season 9 of The Walking Dead is in serious danger of straying very far away from the comic books. Although this isn't inherently a bad thing, history would suggest that any time a comic adaptation takes too many liberties with its source material, fans begin to switch off - something The Walking Dead simply cannot afford with its constantly-dropping ratings. Keeping on Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan would allow the AMC series to bring some vital comic storylines to the world of live-action and give the show a sense of continuity. Killing him off, on the other hand, would be another step into risky, unfamiliar territory for The Walking Dead.