Could ‘Rampage’ Be a Prequel to ‘The Walking Dead’?

Kim Taylor-Foster
Movies The Walking Dead
Movies The Walking Dead Sci-Fi

Fans of The Walking Dead have long speculated that meth-manufacturing series Breaking Bad could take place in the same universe as The Walking Dead. Not only that, but also that Walter White’s signature blue meth was responsible for starting the zombie outbreak. The apocalyptic show has even been known to have fun with the associations, by planting Breaking Bad Easter Eggs here and there. But there’s a big reason to believe that new Dwayne Johnson video game movie Rampage could serve as a prequel to The Walking Dead.

FANDOM put the theory to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays both Rampage’s Agent Russell and villain Negan in The Walking Dead, after spotting some intriguing parallels between the two characters. The theory goes that Agent Russell is actually Negan pre-zombie apocalypse.

Physicality and Swagger

Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Could Negan and Agent Russell be one and the same?

Morgan explained the similarities between the characters: “I kind of knew when I was doing it that there was some crossover. I was shooting both at the same time. Certainly, [director] Brad Peyton is a big fan of Negan. He liked the physicality and swagger that Negan had. I don’t think I knew quite how much [alike they were] until I saw the film.

“I remember the first time that Agent Russell kind of does a little bit of a lean on meeting Dwayne’s character and I was like: ‘Oh, hi Negan’. But we wanted this character Agent Russell to have a ton of swagger. The only way he works in going nose-to-nose with Dwayne is if you’ve got a guy who’s super confident and has a ton of swagger. Negan has both those things. And I think just shooting both at the same time and being super-tired probably kind of helped the process of looking similar.”

He added, laughing: “It’s a prequel! This is what I’m saying! This was Negan. Negan is OGA [Other Government Agency]. And then he finds a baseball bat. And turns into Negan when the apocalypse hits.”

Effect on Humans

Imagine these monsters as zombies.

A story about creatures mutating into huge, angry, rampaging beasts, Rampage may not sound much like a precursor to an apocalyptic zombie show. But, mysteries still surround the cause of the infection in The Walking Dead that turns humans into the hungry undead. Could it be that the pathogen that mutates the animals in Rampage has another effect on humans? We didn’t see the effects of the leaked chemical agent on any of the humans in the film.

“You’re right,” said Morgan. “So maybe the pathogen has made this cowboy OGA men-in-black agent working for the government into [the belligerent, psychotic Negan].”

Or that it turned humans into zombies. “Well, yeah,” agreed Morgan. But what he’s really wondering about is when we’ll get to see mutated creatures in The Walking Dead.

“I want to see the wolf zombie,” he said. “Where are those guys in the Walking Dead world? Let’s bring the zombie crocodile into the Walking Dead world. I’d see that show. Can we do that?”

This would obviously depend on the show’s bosses, but Morgan asserts that executive producer and special creature effects maestro Greg Nicotero would be all for it. Let’s see where Season 9 takes us.

Rampage is out now in the UK and Australia, and hits US screens on April 13.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.