James Dean Morgan talks about his role on The Walking Dead's 7th season portraying Rick's nemesis, Negan. Image Source: IGN

AMC’s The Walking Dead seventh season premiered last Sunday with an episode full of gore, gruesome violence and tension. Newcomer Jeffrey Dean Morgan starred as Negan and showed both the audience and Rick’s crew that he is not messing around.

“Negan loves his bat,” Morgan explained in an interview just hours before “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” first aired. And the actor lived by such words, merging a lively, almost goofy stance with a near sociopathic attitude towards its enemies.

He swung despair, fear and hate to characters and fans alike. Under Negan’s command, the episode was so graphic that Fox U.K. decided not to air the greatest chunks of the episode at all.

Regardless, the episode did what AMC wanted: shatter rating expectations again. The Walking Dead’s 7th season premiere was one of the most-watched events in the history of the show as nearly 17 million people turned in to see their heroes suffer in despair.

The last teaser for this new season suggests a new supply team composed of Rick and Daryl. Image Source: AMC
The last teaser for this new season suggests a new supply team composed of Rick and Daryl. Image Source: AMC

It was also the second highest-rated episode of TWD, trailing behind Season 5’s premiere, “No Sanctuary.” All the while, director Greg Nicotero took his sweet time to introduce a villain that might survive past this season.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan: A long time Negan fan

Jeffrey Dean Morgan was having fun with his character on screen. Maybe because he is one longtime Dead fan and a coveted Negan admirer since he saw the character in the graphic novels many years ago.

So he embraced his role knowing that he is going to take much hate for pulverizing survivor leader Rick’s top lieutenants, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). But before appearing as Lucille’s ultimate companion, he had very different roles in the TV and movie industry.

Negan introduced a whole new level of gore to The Walking Dead's latest season premiere Image Credit: Digital Spy
Negan introduced a whole new level of gore to The Walking Dead’s latest season premiere Image Credit: Digital Spy

Seattle native, the 50-year old actor, has a resume that revolves around great TV romances. His most popular roles are Denny Duquette in the medical drama “Grey’s Anatomy” (2006-2009); and Jason Crouse on the ongoing political drama “The Good Wife.”

He also starred as “The Comedian” in DC Comics film “Watchmen” by director Zack Snyder, and is currently working on suspense thriller “Desierto,” directed by Jonás Cuarón.

Morgan was eager to try out a different role and saw a “fun” opportunity in Negan, the brutal, charismatic, and witty leader of The Saviors.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that would be fun.’ So, when I was doing Good Wife, my agent called and said, ‘You’ve been offered this role on Walking Dead,’ and I’m like, ‘Who is he?’ ” The answer:   “We just know he’s the villain.’ I was like, ‘It’s (expletive) Negan. … It’s got to be Negan, and if it is, we’re going to do it.’ ”

A piece from The Walking Dead's graphic novel featuring Negan and his introduction to Rick's Crew. Image Source: IBT
A piece from The Walking Dead’s graphic novel featuring Negan and his introduction to Rick’s Crew. Image Source: IBT

Issue #100: Here’s Negan

Negan appeared on the graphic novels for the first time in Issue #100. He was the leader of The Saviors and became the primary antagonist of the Comic series.

As adapted from TWD’s comic books, Negan uses his resources to subjugate other communities into paying tribute to his group, including Hilltop Colony, The Kingdom, and Alexandria Safe-Zone. However, the communities join under Rick Grime’s flag and start and long-lasting conflict against The Saviors.

It ends not with Negan’s death, but with his incarceration, while the new leader of The Saviors starts cooperating with the other communities in setting up trade routes and partnerships.

 Source: USA Today

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