Negan’s Backstory Would Make a Great ‘The Walking Dead’ Episode

Lucas DeRuyter
TV The Walking Dead
TV The Walking Dead

Recently Jeffrey Dean Morgan – the actor who plays The Walking Dead’s best villain, Neganexpressed interest in exploring Negan’s backstory in a future episode. This is entirely plausible as The Walking Dead has explored other characters’ backstories in the past. Negan is a stand-out character who is like the Jim Carrey of the show in the way that he acts like he’s in a completely different situation or even genre of television than the rest of the cast.

An episode dedicated to how Negan grew into the best antagonist on TWD would be highly entertaining. Thankfully, the comics have given us a peek into what an episode like this might entail.

Coach Negan

Walking Dead negan
Presumably, he taught baseball.

The Walking Dead rarely shows scenes that take place before zombies turned up and started wrecking everything. However, seeing Negan living in normal society without the threat of constant death could provide great insight into his character.

Before the dead came back to life, Negan was a mostly happily married man who worked as a high school gym teacher and part-time used car salesman. While Negan loved his wife enough to name his iconic baseball bat after her, he had an affair with another woman. It would be interesting to see how this side of Negan influenced him in his present-day life.

As a high school teacher, seeing him interact with kids Carl’s age would also provide further context for his and Carl’s relationship and the possible direction it may go in Season 8.

Rise of The Saviors

Was he always nuts or did that happen over time?

How Negan responded in the first days and weeks of the apocalypse would give insight into who he is now. Seeing how he reacted to society breaking down could offer some compelling juxtaposition when compared to the borderline raving maniac he is now. His reaction to his wife’s death might also explain why he seems to feel justified in his violent actions. It may also explain why he named his bat, Lucille, after her.

Watching him form the group that would eventually become The Saviors would also be fascinating. What did he do to be revered and feared by enough people that they could take over numerous settlements? During this part in the comics, Negan met Dwight who was leading a group of survivors. Witnessing Negan go from Dwight’s subordinate to leader to his pseudo-tormentor would give a lot of depth to the flat, one-sided relationship they currently have.

What Made Negan a Villain?

... maybe he was always evil.

Bad guys in The Walking Dead, often owe their cruel and unforgiving nature to one specific incident that traumatized them and drove them to such deplorable behavior. The Governor became a sociopath because the death of his daughter forced him to prioritize his loved ones’ safety over the lives and well-being of anyone else. Gareth became a cannibal after another group of survivors betrayed him and caused him to view outsiders as nothing more than meat.

Something as bad or worse than these tragedies must have driven Negan to his current radical behavior. Finding out what that incident was could transform him from one of the best characters on TWD to one of the best characters on television right now.

Or maybe there was no trauma that made Negan who he is today. Perhaps he was always a charismatic monster. Maybe the apocalypse just gave him an excuse to be as murderous and controlling as he wanted to be. Seeing Negan in normal society would almost be more terrifying than seeing him threaten and murder people in the apocalypse. Watching Negan’s rise from just another survivor to leading a post-apocalyptic empire would also be a fascinating origin story.

The Negan Show

The more Negan, the better.

While Negan’s backstory is pretty vague in the comics, seeing his story play out could save the show from its current slump. Negan is one of the most talked about characters on the show and the show’s most interesting villain so far. If The Walking Dead does follow the comics and a time skip occurs, then there should be plenty of opportunities to explore Negan’s backstory. Hopefully, Jeffery Dean Morgan gets his wish and AMC makes this episode because it would be a wish come true for fans of the series as well.

Lucas DeRuyter
University of Wisconsin Madison graduate with a deep interest in media, writing, and storytelling.