Editorial: What Negan’s Casting May (or May Not) Mean for This Character’s Fate (Spoilers)

By November 13, 2015
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If you have been staying up to date with all things The Walking Dead, you are no doubt aware of the monumental shift happening both in front and behind the scenes. For that reason, I have to issue a big spoiler alert. This is for anyone that is A) Not caught up with the latest episodes of The Walking Dead Season 6; B) Not caught up with any of the issues from The Walking Dead comic line or C) All the above.

I’ll just leave this here…


Still here? Okay, then. Thank you for humoring me whilst I put up a funny meme in order to create some distance from anything incriminating on the page.

For as we all know, in The Walking Dead, no one is safe. The meme above cracked me up because of its truthiness. We all, somewhat, understand that when you are a character on AMC’s hit zombie series, no matter who you are, no matter how big or how long you exist on the show – it doesn’t matter. You are, essentially, food for the undead. The meaning of the title even, The Walking Dead, has less to do with the zombies and more to do with how much time the living have left on their clocks.

An aside, anyone notice Steven Yeun’s (Glenn) name was always by the pocket watch in the opening credits and has since been removed? Coincidence? Probably.

Which brings me to my very large and controversial first point – Glenn.

stevenyeun_thewalkingdead03I’m actually quite sad, looking at this picture. But it puts me on point because this article is not only about the show but also the comics. And Glenn is (was?) a big part.

Let’s just get something out of the way, right away as it were… Glenn dies in the comics. And might I add, horribly. The man who does the killing?

Negan surpiseNegan.

Also worth mentioning, in as little as two weeks after Glenn’s ‘supposed’ death/disappearance, Jeffrey Dean Morgan was cast as the bat wielding Negan.  

After the casting was announced, I immediately started to notice people chatting all over with their theory: Glenn couldn’t have been eaten by zombies near the dumpster because Negan was cast and he is the one that kills Glenn.

Sure. In the comics.

Negan_LucilleAs shown, Negan takes his bat, Lucille, and smashes Glenn over the head to prove a point. It was a shock for all those readers (including me) who had been following along for many years. It was almost as if the character of Glenn had become untouchable. Invincible. Just like the comic counterpart of Rick. For me, my guard was down. I looked at other characters as the obvious ones to lose their life in any number of ways.

When Robert Kirkman (writer of the comic line) decided to kill Glenn, it reminded the audience reading along that no one is safe. Not anyone. It is the running through line of the whole series and that theme has carried over to the television show.

And so when TV version Glenn was, seemingly, eaten alive -many fans, yours truly, were shocked stupid. Then, the rational brain took over and we searched for clues:

Glenn couldn’t have died because a main character wasn’t there to witness it.

Glenn isn’t dead; the zombies were eating Nicholas’s body and Glenn hid in the dumpster.

Glenn isn’t dead because they didn’t do a ‘Dearly Departed’ mention on Talking Dead.

And now, the final reach – Glenn isn’t dead because Negan has been cast and he will be the one to kill him.

I could spend hours- hell, days arguing both sides of the ‘is he or isn’t he dead’ argument. And I can see both sides of the argument for sure but am leaning more to the ‘he’s dead’ side of the fence. In watching and re-watching the scene in question, I just think there were too many zombies for Glenn to have survived.

Don’t get me wrong, thinking Glenn is gone forever makes me pretty upset. He was part of the identity of the show. He was its heart; part of its soul. Take that away and yeah, you are going to feel it.

But as I said, The Walking Dead is about the reality of a world filled with the undead. People die. Plain and simple. With Glenn gone, it is a bitter reminder that EVERYONE has to watch their backs.

Now comes Negan, oh boy. He is a worthy villain, a perfect antagonist, and one evil character with staying power. Just as Rick is the leader and primary protagonist, Negan could become his mirror image for a long stretch of time. Potentially. This is just my speculation.

But back to the point in question – does the casting of Negan mean Glenn is alive? Absolutely not.

The comics vs the TV show have done an interesting thing – they have, sometimes, perfectly mirrored each other in plot and development. And I can (usually) see the similarities happening, and can guess the outcomes before they happen; based in part because of the comics.

Example, I could see the Michonne/Governor brawl building to a conclusion I knew was coming. I figured the Governor would lose his eye because of Michonne - it happened in the comics. So If you knew the comics, you knew there would be some sort of similar outcome on the show.Walking DeadSecond example comes from the Governor again, but this time with Hershel from the show and Tyrese from the comics. In this case, however, I didn’t see it coming.

Sure, I was betting that Tyrese was going to suffer the same fate as his comic book counterpart and even regaled my friends (and anybody who would listen) that, for sure, Tyrese was going to die because, duh, the Governor.

And then the producers floored me. Hershel, poor dear Hershel, was on the other end of Michonne’s stolen katana blade. And I could not believe it.Walking Dead GlennThe list of comic to TV deaths do mirror each other quite a bit. Sweet Tyrese did ultimately meet his end but in a very different, more heroic way. Laurie too. But in a much more brutal fashion.

walking-dead-lori-comics-vs-tvHer TV version died due to child birth while her comic counterpart (along with, sadly, Judith) were shot to death during the siege on the prison by the Governor.

Andrea met her end on television while she still lives in the pages of the comic book.  Shane, of course, became a zombie and was shot by Carl (pretty much mirrored the comic exactly) and Dale was surprisingly taken from us in season two by a random Walker. Dale especially was someone I had targeted as someone who would live a bit longer than most – and in doing so would be at the center of a BIG episode:

Walking Dead Tainted MeatThat’s right, instead of Dale it was Bob that was at the center of the cannibals who ate his ‘tainted leg.’ I did know, at the very least, that the ‘tainted meat’ storyline was coming, I just didn’t know who would be at the center of it.

You see, this is my long winded explanation that at the very end of the day, we shouldn’t count on Glenn’s return just because Negan is coming. Although the storyline from the comics is a popular one, as I’ve shown, so were a ton of other lines in the comics.

Glenn is gone, for now. Whether or not the audience will get ‘closure’ remains to be seen. And not for one second do I believe Negan’s arrival will signal Glenn’s return.

We might just have to accept it… Glenn could be gone forever. It is the cruel and harsh world set up by the showrunners. Unforgiving and brutal, Glenn could very well be just another casualty.

If you REALLY want to start a conversation, might I suggest who YOU think will be Negan’s first victim on the show? Because it’s coming. Mark my words. Negan will end a major characters life…

We’ll just have to wait and see WHO will be next.

Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround
  • Erin Parisien

    So, regardless of whether Glenn is alive or dead (I’m still thinking alive!), after last week’s episode I say the first victim to fall to Lucille is going to be Aaron. Something about his interaction with Maggie, and knowing that Negan was still a possibility, just made me think he’s going to be the one. But seriously, how awesome is it to see BDW (Supernatural fans will understand!)… sorry, Jeffrey Dean Morgan cast in this iconic role? He is going to kill it! (Pun possibly intended!)

  • David Johnson

    Their going to leave everyone hanging on Glenn’s Fate (Hes Walker pop By Now [do they poop?]) until the second half of this season! JDM will make an Amazing Negen!!