Negan, Negan, Negan. All you hear these days is Negan. “NEGAN!” shouts your partner from the kitchen. “Negan Negan? Negan.”
“Negan,” you reply, then flush.
But who IS The Walking Dead‘s fascistic sadist overlord? What made him the man he is?
Well, the show’s producer and creator of the comics Robert Kirkman has technically already answered that question. In a series of spin-off tales titled Here’s Negan, published in four-page micro-instalments from April 2016 (and still ongoing), he outlines the events that led from Negan’s life pre-apocalypse to the barbed-wire-bat-wielding maniac we know and love.
If any of this gets used in the show, you can retroactively shout “spoilers!” at us.
Meet Negan the regular guy – he plays ping-pong with a group of boys in his garage and gloats over beating one of them (at the game. Not actually beating him like he beat Glenn and Abraham.) His wife tells him off, because she worries that their parents will complain to the school and he’ll lose his job as sports coach.
(Yep, he’s a PE teacher. It all makes sense now.)
Aw, but he just wants them to respect him as a cool teacher, he says. He’s just speaking their language.
She suddenly collapses to the floor.
Negan gets his wife to hospital. The doctor gives them the terrible news (though its nature is not yet revealed to us.)
Later, Negan is in bed with another woman and he becomes deeply upset. He reveals to his lover that his wife has cancer.
Negan’s lover angrily ends their affair and accuses him of manipulating her. Later, Negan tells his wife that the affair is over, and that he only loves her. Angry with him, she says that if that’s so, then it’s suspicious that he’s chosen to stay with “the sick one”.
She gets sicker. Eventually she is moved to a hospital ward, where Negan cares for her.
A doctor rushes in to say the hospital is being evacuated, but Negan won’t leave without his wife. He looks out the window to see the apocalypse has begun.
A patient runs past the hospital room, telling Negan to flee. He barricades the door with furniture and tells his unconscious wife that she’s better off asleep, and that everything will be better when she wakes up.
Outside on the street everything has got worse, then a noise from the room startles Negan – his wife has died while he was looking away and turned into a walker. She falls out of the bed, and Negan says her name: Lucille.
Negan tries to talk to Lucille, but it’s no use. He leaves her on the floor and runs into the corridor, where he finds a boy fighting off two walkers. Will he help him?
Repulsed at his own actions, Negan beats the walkers away with a fire extinguisher. The boy thanks him, and Negan asks if he will go back and “kill” the zombie in the other room (ie Lucille) for him. The boy agrees, and that done, the pair leave the hospital.
Negan gives the boy a lift home, but the boy notices there’s something off about Negan’s behaviour – he seems pretty glib and sarcastic given the gravity of what’s going down. Negan passes it off as just his manner. They talk about sex and the boy says that there’s a girl he likes who’ll maybe like him back if he protects her from the apocalypse. But then a zombie kills him, so that’s that.