The arrival of Negan on AMC's The Walking Dead was an immensely hyped moment and what the show delivered did not disappoint. Well, except for the matter of that infuriating cliffhanger which nearly burned down the internet with the anger it inflamed. But just about everything else about the scene before its final moments - from the tension so thick you could slice it, to Jeffrey Dean Morgan's gleeful portrayal - was about as perfect as anyone could have hoped for.
So, it's a downright shame the decision for The Walking Dead's finale to end seconds before revealing who Negan kills and not after has soured what is otherwise a fantastic debut for the villain. At least, that's the point Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman, is trying to make when speaking about the now controversial finale.
In an interview with Uproxx, Kirkman laments that "people aren't talking about Jeffrey Dean Morgan enough," and it's unfortunate the outrage over the finale's cliffhanger has taken over the discussion. He also promises that season 7 will be "pretty great," adding that Negan is going to "change everything moving forward."
Read Kirkman's full remarks below:
"But season 7 is going to be pretty great … One of the side effects, and I’m going to stop talking about this because I know that’s going to be a whole other article on its own, but one of the side effects that I’m upset about is that people aren’t talking about Jeffrey Dean Morgan enough. I think that he is absolutely amazing as Negan. I think that his presence in that finale adds so much to the show. I know people don’t like the cliffhanger aspect of it, but I like to think that everything up to that moment was pretty amazing, and people were digging it. I think people are discounting the fact that Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Negan are in the show now, so you’re going to be seeing stuff like that pretty much every episode of season 7. Not necessarily cliffhangers. I don’t want to worry people, but Negan is going to be an ever-present, constant threat that is going to change everything moving forward. And maybe I’ve said things like that before, but I promise you, Negan is going to be different. Season 7 is going to be really cool. I couldn’t be more excited about it."
Hearing those involved with a television show call their upcoming season "the best ever" isn't anything new. After all, Norman Reedus was only saying a few days ago that season 7 will make us "explode." But Kirkman has an informed perspective when he says Negan is going to have a huge impact on The Walking Dead moving forward. There's a reason fans of the comic have been waiting desperately for Negan to arrive on TV, and it extends beyond the shocking and gruesome murder he commits upon arrival.
Though Rick and co. have faced crazy dangerous men in the past, none have held as much power or total control over others as Negan. His ability to manipulate otherwise good people into doing terrible things is unlike anyone else and it makes him an immensely formidable enemy. In a way, Negan is like a distorted and twisted version of Rick, where instead of inspiring others to follow him, he intimidates them.
This all makes for a fairly even match between Negan and Rick, and their conflict is all the more intense because of it. And if season 7 plans to stick close to events as they happened in the comics, Rick won't be backing down, causing what can only be described as all out war between Alexandria and The Saviors.
Season 7 of The Walking Dead is expected to premiere October 9th, 2016 on AMC.