Negan is coming and hell followed with him. That’s the overall message from Entertainment Weekly‘s preview of their big The Walking Dead cover story, which features Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s tall and imposing villain pointing his signature weapon, the barbed-wire baseball bat he affectionately calls Lucille. The same weapon wielded by Negan took the life of one of 9 characters in the season 6 finale and the season 7 premiere will quickly reveal the identity of the victim, a storytelling trick that drew criticism and controversy.
Morgan told EW his character portends a “reset” in the world of The Walking Dead, elaborating, “it’s f—ing Negan’s world now.”
“What you’re going to see in the first half of this season is Negan wreaking havoc. And some of your characters that you’ve grown to love are not going to be on the show anymore, and it’s going to end badly for them. It’s going to be a whole new beginning for The Walking Dead. Really, we’ve taken the show and just flipped it upside down. It’s a different show now. It’s going to have a different feeling. You’re going to see your favorite characters in a position that they’ve never been in before, which is super vulnerable and victimized.”
Beyond his infamous introduction, another signature of Negan is his childish cursing and perverted humor. With Morgan’s first scene in the season 6 finale, this was compensated by filming two versions of the ending, one with the language and a tamer one for broadcast. The former will be available on the DVD & Blu-ray. But that won’t work now that Morgan’s Negan is a series regular.
When asked how they were compensating for TV censors, Morgan said to EW he actually had quite a bit of freedom on set and they will indeed continue the finale precedent of filming alternate “F-takes.”
“It’s limitless. I mean, the amount of swear words that Negan has said in the course of the first… I think we’re on episode 7 now… I have said every one as many times as that can be said. Now, what we do with Negan, is we have to film a TV version. I’m still allowed a couple swear words, I can drop them in there here and there. Then we do the F-take where I just let loose and I let loose a lot when I am off camera like if I am working with other actors for their coverage. When the camera’s on them I will just let words fly. Some are scripted and some are just in character.”
The Walking Dead returns with its seventh season October 23. Here’s the Comic-Con trailer.