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Characters / The Walking Dead TV Show Negan

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"You could have just let me save all of you."
Portrayed By: Jeffrey Dean Morgan

"You can breathe, you can blink, you can cry. Hell, you’re all gonna be doing that."

The main antagonist of The Walking Dead starting at the end of Season 6. Negan is the powerful leader of the Saviors, and controls other communities as well through intimidation, demanding tribute from them to supply his personal base, the Sanctuary. He wields Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire as his personal weapon and symbol of power. When the Alexandria Safe-Zone begins attacking his group and slaughters many of them, Negan decides to confront Rick directly, killing Glenn and Abraham and mentally tortures Rick into submission. Negan humiliates Alexandria through his visits, and offers several of their people membership in the Saviors when they show potential to him. However, his murders of Spencer and Olivia push Rick over the edge, and Rick forms a rebellion against him. With his slave states rebelling, Negan declares war on them.


It becomes apparent during the war that Negan is far more than his evil tyrant persona. Negan is revealed to genuinely believe that he is saving people by protecting the weak, and does not condone the genocidal tendencies of Simon. However, Rick points out that extortion of the weak is not the same as protection, and that the Savior empire will never last, something Negan begins to realize as the war progresses. Though AHK initially has him on the defensive, Negan strikes back and personally leads the sacking of Alexandria, but is devastated to learn of Carl’s death. Ultimately, it is the treachery of his lieutenants that causes Negan’s downfall, as his army surrenders after their weapons are sabotaged by Eugene, his attempt to wipe out AHK fails thanks to Simon’s earlier raid, and Dwight helps wound him during the final fight. Citing Carl’s desire for peace, Rick and Michonne spare Negan and sentence him to life in prison to watch the communities thrive without him.


A year and a half later, Negan is still behind bars in Alexandria, but vows that he will escape someday...

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     Tropes A-D 
  • A God Am I: Just to fuel his Dark Messiah characteristics, he makes all his men say they are all "Negan" to promote his leadership.
    Negan: I am everywhere!
  • Abhorrent Admirer: His bragging about how Sherry is now his wife and how he originally wanted to make Tina his beloved reach uncomfortable creeper levels. He also expressed a desire in taking Maggie as a wife (after killing her husband) and admitted an attraction to Olivia, who wasn't exactly forthcoming considering he spent half of his time insulting her weight.
  • Adaptational Badass: Comic Negan was never shown using firearms. TV Negan proves himself just as capable in melee combat as his counterpart, and is also proficient with an assault rifle.
  • Adaptational Curves: Comic Negan has a stouter built, while TV Negan is leaner.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: TV Negan is also far more prone to psychological warfare and careful thought than his comics counterpart. As an example, regarding how he chooses who he plans to kill in his debut, comic-book Negan truly appears to have done a random selection (he listed several reasons why he couldn't decide who was going to get Lucilled), TV Negan bounces around during his "random" eeny-meeny-miny-moe game and just so happens to land on Abraham (who had quietly stood up to him earlier) after pausing on the last pick. Even Abraham's actor, Michael Cudlitz, agrees that Negan's game was simply a means for him to observe each member of the group and determine who was the logical choice to take out. His seemingly random choice of Glenn as his second victim supports this interpretation as well, given Glenn had previously interrupted him. He finally admits to Rick in "Wrath" that killing Abraham (and later Glenn) was a calculated move, as he didn't want to kill Rick in front of his son.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Besides the Adaptational Nice Guy below, this version of Negan is more depraved and sadistic than his comic book counterpart. For instance:
    • In the Season 7 premiere, he kills two victims rather than one (the latter just for someone punching him in the face, rather than retribution for killing his men) and nearly forces Rick to chop Carl's arm off, something his comic counterpart never did. Also, while he's disrespectful to his victim(s) in both comic and TV show, TV-verse Negan spends far more time mocking and torturing the survivors, and openly admits that he enjoys killing (people he feels need to die to keep everyone in line, at least), whereas Comic!Negan confessed to Rick in private that he actually didn't like it.
    • Negan's Harem comes across as much creepier in the show. While Comic!Negan emphasized that all of the women were there of their own free will, were treated well, and could leave any time they wanted (albeit at the cost of having to go back to performing hard labor and being on Negan's shit list), Show!Negan is not above coercing women into joining. His offer for Tina to join him comes after she's unable to afford the insulin she needs to survive under his harsh point system (and later implies he was planning to offer Maggie a similar deal, noting that she's sick too) and the only thing that stops him from executing Dwight for treason is that Sherry volunteers to marry him if he spares Dwight. note 
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Negan is a lot more aggressive and merciless, but at the same time, he's a more emotionally stable and rational character compared to his mood-swing prone comic counterpart. In the comic, he knew there was no possible peace as long as Rick was alive at the first failed assassination attempt and decides to go full scorched earth on Alexandria. Here, it's Simon that advocates the Kill ’Em All philosophy, which Negan objects to.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Subverted. While he didn’t beg for his life in "Wrath", he begs Maggie to kill him in "What Comes After" so that he can rejoin his dead wife, Lucille, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt the previous episode. Maggie refuses so that he can suffer alone.
  • And Starring: Gets this billing from Season 7 onwards.
  • Anti-Villain: In Season 8. While still depraved, he's given many humanizing moments with characters like Gabriel, Eugene, and especially Carl, who believes Negan isn't beyond redemption. As of the back half of Season 8, it's revealed that as harsh as Negan is, he doesn't want to needlessly murder people if he can avoid doing so, and is positively gentle compared to Simon, who gleefully advocates slaughtering everyone at Hilltop and, in an inverted "kill only one" policy, slaughters all of the Scavengers aside from a devastated Jadis without Negan's knowledge or approval. When he finally decides he must exterminate all the rebelling communities and start over, he's truly saddened that it's come to this and takes no pleasure from it.
  • Arc Words: "Right off the bat" during Season 6, as it's used by several characters as a way to hint towards his impending arrival.
  • Ax-Crazy: While he does abide by Pragmatic Villainy, Negan clearly enjoys violence and is positively giddy smashing Abraham and Glenn's heads to a pulp.
  • Badass Boast: He preaches to Daryl about what a powerful leader he is by proclaiming that he's nearly all-powerful among his men. Later does this to Carl to demonstrate his authority.
  • Batter Up!: His signature weapon is a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, which he calls "Lucille."
  • Beard of Evil: Unlike his clean-shaven comic counterpart, Negan's facial hair is more noticeable in the show. He lampshades it in his first appearance when he mentions that he should shave it off and finally does so in the mid-Season 7 finale.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: At least on his end towards Olivia. He spends most of his time with her insulting her weight, but eventually admits that he'd love to sleep with her. He doesn't even mind getting slapped by her, as it just turns him on even more.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Harming Lucille. When Rosita shoots his bat, he flies into an extreme rage far beyond anything he's done before. When Rick lights her on fire, Negan goes absolutely apeshit and tackles him to the ground.
    • Banging one of his 'wives' behind his back is a surefire way to get an iron to the face.
    • Negan hates traitors and kowtows, as shown with his murder of Spencer.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Negan comes across as a little off, but, as Rick's group finds out the hard way, you do not cross him.
  • Big Bad: From the Season 6 finale to the Season 8 finale, he is the primary antagonist of the show.
  • Blood Knight: He even says he can kill people all day.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: He's an overly happy guy who's not afraid to crush his enemies' skulls in with his trusted baseball bat.
  • Breaking Speech: Gives a thoroughly detailed monologue that breaks Rick while he and his friends are held hostage.
  • The Bully: An adult version, as his MO is basically intimidating people into working for him and forcibly taking their supplies for himself. His juvenile sense of humor and childish cheerfulness also contribute to this image.
  • Character Development: Negan starts out as little more than a murderous bully who mentally tortures Rick into submission. Later episodes show him as a more dynamic character who is capable of occasional kindness, such as with his relationships with Sasha, Eugene, Gabriel, and especially Carl and Judith, the latter of whom eventually becomes something of a Morality Pet to him. When Negan discovers that the Sanctuary has fallen during his seven-and-a-half year incarceration, he decides to head back to Alexandria and genuinely starts taking steps to make up for what he did.
  • Characterization Marches On: He is much more reserved in the Season 6 finale than he is in Season 7 on, only raising his voice once.
  • Character Tics: The "Negan lean", which was inspired by a panel in the comic where Negan was leaning back and laughing, quickly became a staple of his character. He stops doing it in Season 9, which shows how broken he's become since his defeat.
  • Classic Villain: Greed and wrath, with a massive helping of pride.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Negan's villainous monologue seems to come completely out of nowhere and he oddly takes holding Rick's group hostage as a big joke he pulled on them. His personality is so random that even his own minions get confused half the time when he's talking to them, not being able to tell if he's serious or joking with them.
  • Comforting the Widow: He has the nerve to consider asking Maggie to be one of his wives after he murdered Glenn. While he admits that it was a bit of a stretch to think she'd accept, it's implied from his comments to Rick that he's done this successfully at least once.
  • Companion Cube: Lucille creepily comes across as this to Negan as he describes her like a close friend. Later revealed to be a way of coping with the loss of his wife, who was named Lucille.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: While previous Big Bad The Governor was a humorless Southern Gentleman warlord with Kill ’Em All tendencies who eventually proves to be "too far gone" for redemption, Negan is a fun-loving Psychopathic Manchild who believes in killing only as a means of making others fall in line and is capable of being reasonable and forming friendships with others.
  • The Corrupter: He shows some interest in making others think the way he does. This is best demonstrated when he convinces Eugene to join the group as their Evil Genius by offering him a great position over the other Saviors.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: If anyone tries to get with one of his many wives without following the point system, then he'll scorch off half a man's face as punishment.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: He loves giving these to his opponents. While his favorite move is definitely whacking their heads using his barb-wired baseball bat, he is shown suggesting close-proximity headshots.
  • Cruel Mercy: He threatens to kill everybody in the group and back in Alexandria if Rick doesn't cut off Carl's hand, but leaves Rick alive to wander alone knowing he could have prevented it.
    • Negan himself is later a victim of this in the Season 8 finale. After Rick slashes his throat, rather than let him bleed out Rick instead chooses to honor his late son's wishes and save Negan's life, with a twist: he must now spend the rest of his days locked up in the cell below Alexandria while Rick leads the communities (including some of Negan's own surviving people) into a better and brighter future.
    • Maggie ultimately chooses not to kill him after seeing how much he actually wants to die, opting to let him suffer with the pain he feels for his actions.
  • Cult of Personality: Negan has one of these within Sanctuary, down to the point where his followers actually bow to him and proclaim that they "are all Negan."
  • Dark and Troubled Past: He reveals to Gabriel that he cheated on his actual wife, Lucille, and that he regrets not being good to her when she was still alive.
  • Dark Is Evil: He's a dark-haired man in a dark outfit and the longest-reigning Big Bad of the series to date.
  • Dark Messiah: Downplayed. Although Negan is just a mortal man, the Saviors seem to view him as a nearly god-like leader to whom they swear Undying Loyalty, claiming "We are all Negan." A woman is heard thanking God for him in “The Big Scary U”.
  • Death Seeker: By Season 9, his downfall and subsequent incarceration have broken him to the point that he tearfully begs Maggie to kill him so he can be reunited with his wife.
  • Despair Event Horizon: He passes it after spending a year and a half imprisoned for his crimes with no one to talk to, banging his head on the wall in frustration after Michonne refuses to let him see Lucille and then asking Maggie to kill him to end his suffering. Six years later, he has managed to find some level of peace again, thanks in part to his friendship with Judith.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Twice over! In the Season 7 finale, he did not expect Sasha to die and try to kill him as a walker. And he definitely didn't expect a tiger to show up and start killing his men, followed by the other communities he subjugated coming to Alexandria's rescue.
  • Dinner and a Show: Subverted in the mid-season finale, with Negan and his pretend family all gathered around the table. Except everyone aside from Negan is terrified.
  • Domestic Abuser: Negan's system is fundamentally exploitative. The only other "choice" (which isn't really a choice) he gives his wives is to be treated like a slave. He knew that there would be women like Tina, who couldn't earn the points they need, and there would be women like Amber, who had a family member who couldn't work, that he could take advantage of and exploit.
    • He also tortures them psychologically and enjoys it. His wives are so terrified of him they either want to kill him (as seen when Frankie asked Eugene to help her), drink themselves to death (as seen with Amber), and run away from the safety of the Sanctuary and would rather risk dying to be with him (as seen with Tina). Plus there's the fact that he withheld life-saving medication from Tina unless she agreed to marry him.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Is seen ramming a few walkers with an RV. If he's not ramming, he's gunning them down while driving.
  • The Dreaded: Before he actually appears on the show. The Hilltop residents were quickly cowed into submission by his soldiers and are initially dismissive of Rick's proposal to assassinate him. We find out in the Season 6 finale just why everyone's so terrified of him.

     Tropes E-H 
  • Enemy Mine: With Father Gabriel in "The Big Scary U" as they work together to escape a trailer surrounded by walkers.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In "Last Day on Earth," Negan gleefully welcomes Rick's group to their neighborhood with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech before playfully picking which one he wants to punish for their actions against him, and then brutally bashes that person's head (the person being Abraham) to a bloody pulp. Taken further in the next episode when he suddenly murders Glenn as well simply because Daryl punched him after he killed the first victim.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He apparently still loves his wife to the point that he sobs and admits he wants to die to be reunited with Lucille.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • He didn’t want to kill a kid’s father in front of him, hence why he didn’t kill Rick from the get-go and settled on the larger, more defiant Abraham.
    • Forbids rape amongst the Saviors, though as noted in Hypocrite, this is a downplayed trope. However, when David violates that rule he gets severely punished by having a knife to the throat.
    • He also genuinely feels bad when people cry and tries to apologize for upsetting his victims when they cave in.
    • Also seems to have a fondness for babies, as seen when he dotes on and plays with Judith for an entire day.
    • He's disgusted when Spencer tries to betray Rick and get Negan to put him in charge. Despite how horrendously Negan treats Rick, he at least respects Rick for having the guts to fight and sacrifice for his community, which he (correctly) points out is much more than Spencer ever seems to do.
    • He's disgusted by Rick and his group when Rick was actually going to detonate the bombs in the area with Eugene in the vicinity after Eugene tries to talk them down from attacking, even though they no longer consider him in their group anymore.
    • He’s visibly revolted by having to resort to the walker guts trick, deeming it as disgusting as everyone else has.
    • As he believes in Pragmatic Villainy, he’s always quick to tear Simon a new one whenever he suggests that they massacre a community (especially Hilltop).
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The ultimate reason he underestimates Rick. Negan, who rules his group through fear alongside some liberal self-interest, just sees Rick as another leader of a community he can subjugate and crush under heel, not grasping that Rick leads his group through mutual adoration and devotion, to both each other and to a better future. By the time it really dawns on him that Rick is the man that can unite all the desperate communities against him, he's already lost control and an all out war has erupted. In Season 8, even when he’s legitimately mourning Carl’s death, he chastises Rick for rebelling against him like a parent scolds their child. Negan genuinely does not see any other way than his, and can’t understand why his slave states revolted against him.
  • Evil Counterpart: He is this for the Rick of Seasons 5-6—a ruthless and powerful leader who takes care of his own by crushing all potential opposition and taking supplies from those who aren't a threat.
    • He is also this to Ezekiel. Both men are shrewd, intelligent leaders with command over large numbers and a flair for the dramatic. However, the key difference between the two is that while Negan rules through fear, Ezekiel rules through genuine, earned respect.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Jeffrey Dean Morgan is clearly having a blast in the role.
  • Evil Is Petty: Despite usually being pretty pragmatic and reasonable in his own twisted way, sometimes he does or says things that are just plain petty, no way around it. Most of these cross over into Kick the Dog, but demanding that Alexandria surrender everything to him in the Season 7 finale - namely, the lemonade - is pretty petty.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Speaks with a really deep, intimidating voice.
  • Ex-Big Bad: In Season 9. His imprisonment after the war leaves him a shell of his former self and once he's at Maggie's mercy he actually begs her to kill him. After escaping and finding the Sanctuary in ruins, he seemingly renounces his former ways and asks Michonne if she could learn to trust him.
  • A Father to His Men: Subverted. Negan seems to genuinely care for the Saviors under his command, as demonstrated when he wants to punish Rick's group for murdering too many of them. That said, he also has no problem sacrificing some of them when he deems it necessary, as shown in the Season 8 finale.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He's clearly a fun-loving guy and has his own set of rules, but he's completely psychotic and happy to murder people in horrible ways if they cross him or his people. Best exemplified in his introductory speech where, despite his jovial demeanor he is telling Rick's group that he now owns them and that one of them is about to suffer a brutal death for killing his men.
  • Freaky Is Cool: He is genuinely awed by Carl's ruined eye socket and sincerely compliments him on it. (In his own way) Plus, he gets along with Eugene better than most of his own men, thinking his lateral way of solving problems is bitchin'.
  • Friend to All Children: He does his damnedest to avoid hurting kids, takes a shine to Carl and Judith despite their father being his Arch-Enemy, and is concerned for the well-being of the infant (Gracie) that was the Sole Survivor of an outpost Rick raided, not knowing that Aaron had adopted her as his own. It's implied that he was righteously furious when Simon murdered children in Oceanside, and he, like everyone else, is saddened with the news of Carl's death. As of Season 9, he values the friendship he has with the now-preteen Judith and is very protective of her, even risking his life to carry her to safety during a massive snowstorm.
  • The Gadfly: He knows that everyone either hates and/or fears him, but he enjoys messing with everyone around him anyway by acting like a complete and utter lunatic.
  • Genius Bruiser: Not only is he skilled at crushing his opponents' skulls with his lucky bat, but he successfully mind rapes Rick of all people into submitting to him. He also quickly deduces that Carl is Rick's son and that Rosita and Abraham were romantically involved. He also showcases fine mastery over the Secret Test of Character since he gains advantage over Daryl and Rick into obeying his command. In Chris Hardwick's words, "it's now psychological warfare."
  • The Ghost: For most of Season 6 prior to his appearance in the finale.
    • He is also this in the first episode of Season 9. While obviously not seen due to being locked up in Alexandria's jail, he is mentioned many times and his presence is still very much felt, particularly at the Sanctuary.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: His presence is first felt in "Always Accountable", where members of his group allude to him. He is first mentioned by name in The Stinger of "Start to Finish", and his reputation continues to grow stronger as the season progresses until he finally makes his debut in the finale.
  • Guest Fighter: Negan can come to blows with the cast of Tekken as part of second season of Downloadable Content for Tekken 7.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: He wears a leather jacket, which accentuates his evilness.
    Negan: Here’s a little refresher on just who the hell I am! I wear a leather jacket...
  • Hero Killer: Aside from the literal example with Abraham and Glenn, the entirety of his first appearance to Rick's group leads to the survivors of the encounter begging for mercy or trying to limit harm to themselves, rather than maximize harm to the enemy as they had before.
  • Hidden Depths: For a swaggering, bullying warlord, he does have a suprising amount of knowledge: whether trained or not before the apocalypse (and his comic-backstory says not), he possesses quite a bit of psychological know-how when it comes to either breaking badasses like Rick or getting people to otherwise obey him. He can also identify a homemade bullet from a commercially-made one. And, more tellingly, he DOES seem to have something resembling a moral center, backing down when he knows he pushed it too far by (albeit admiringly) bringing up how gross Carl's missing eye is.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: While in control of the situation, Negan tends to take his time and draws out the theatrics and the agony he inflicts on the various punishments he inflicts on his people and on the Alexandrians, when he could have easily cut it short and call it a day. It's why Rick's group was able to got the jump on him when he opened the coffin intending to make a big show of Sasha pleading for Alexandria's surrender, and instead it's Sasha as a walker trying to eat his face.
  • Hope Crusher: The Season 7 premiere is essentially all about him crushing every ounce of hope and bravery Rick's group has so they will learn that he's their leader now. He even purposely shows up to Alexandria earlier than expected so he could intimidate the community into giving him whatever his people wanted, making it clear that they have no choice but to obey him.
  • Humiliation Conga: Loses control over his vassal states in the Season 7 finale, tricked by Sasha (his intended bargaining chip) and then interrupted in his punishment of Rick's rebellion by the timely arrival of the Kingdom and Shiva. He also has to suffer the indignity of being forced into a retreat by his escaped prisoner Daryl as well as Maggie, the woman he made a widow, wanted to make one of his wives, and was led to believe had died. He's forced to flee Alexandria with his tail between his legs, bitterly musing on how things went to shit.
  • Hypocrite: For Negan, rape is a big no-no. But forcing a diabetic woman into your Paid Harem by giving her easier access to insulin is fair game because technically he isn't making her do anything.

     Tropes I-N 
  • I Call It "Vera": He calls his baseball bat "Lucille."
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When Maggie finally comes to kill him in Season 9, he tearfully admits that he wants to die and has tried to follow through on it himself, but can't.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: He's one of the series' most well-known villains, but he does not appear until the last episode of Season 6.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: He essentially has Sherry completely under his control in a forced marriage he made up. Since he originally desired Tina before she died though, Negan may have wanted her as one of the multiple wives in his harem.
  • It's All About Me: He's predicated The Saviors' entire culture around this trope.
  • I Want Them Alive: Played with. He favors this option for only the strongest and "badass" prisoners he comes across, trying to break them so he can employ them as his own soldiers.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: He's a big fan of this, since going after the people close to somebody is more effective than just punishing them directly. Cases in point, murdering Glenn as punishment for Daryl punching him, and later ordering Rick to cut off Carl's hand or watch his entire group be shot. He also does this to his wives, punishing them for cheating on him by ironing the faces of their boyfriends.
  • Jerkass: He's a huge asshole to everybody and seems to get his kicks that way. He patronizes and casually torments everybody around him because he knows they can't rebel against him or his cult of personality. And that's the nicer side of him, considering the rest of the time he seems to spend just outright threatening people, their loved ones, etc. He eases out of this territory ever so slightly in Season 8, which gives him many humanizing moments and some backstory. Overall Negan is a flawed person, but he, unlike most villains, has a heart.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In Season 9, after the second Time Skip. While still kind of a dick, he's mellowed out considerably in the past six years and even strikes up a friendship with Judith.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Mocking Rosita over Abraham's death, practically rubbing his bloodied bat in her face.
    • He emasculates Dwight every time they talk in "The Cell" and actually jokes about how he has his ex-wife under his control.
    • Engages in this repeatedly and gleefully during the entirety of "Service", implied to be at least partially to test Rick's patience with him while the latter is holding Lucille. Among other things, he goes on about his intention to invite Maggie into his harem, jokes about his murder of Abraham and Glenn, and forces Rick to say "thank you" to him when he finally leaves.
      "In case you haven't figured it out, I just slid my dick down your throat, and you thanked me for it."
    • Subverted when Maggie finally comes to kill him and he cruelly mocks Glenn's death to her face, even pretending to forget her late husband's name; in this case, however, it's because Negan actually wants to die, which he tearfully confesses moments later.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch:
    • When David violates the no rape rule, Negan berates him harshly to scare him, then stabs him to death and leaves him to turn into a walker.
    • Spencer tries to betray Rick for shallow and poorly thought out reasons, so Negan guts him like a fish in front of everybody.
  • Kindness Button: Absolutely dislikes it whenever his victims cry and does try to apologize for whatever he said. As evidence when he makes Carl cry after mocking his injury, he genuinely tells him he's sorry for crossing the line. Though since he still is a Mood-Swinger, his moments of compassion are far little in between.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Forces Rick's group to kneel before him when at his mercy. It's also shown that he forces his own Saviors to bow to him as well.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Much like his comic counterpart, the introduction of Negan in Season 6 greatly alters the tone of an already dark series, even when people are simply discussing him. The entirety of Season 7 premiere is there to showcase how serious of a threat Negan really is when he manages to become the most effective Hero Killer in the series and destroy every inch of hope that Rick and his group have. Although Negan's character has some darkly comedic elements, his mere presence instills an even greater sense of dread and urgency within Rick's group and occasionally results in someone dying horribly.
  • Large Ham Radio: "Rock in the Road" reveals that he occasionally graces the airwaves with his obnoxious persona, eulogizing Fat Joey over the Saviors' walkie talkie network.
  • Last Episode, New Character: Played With. He does not appear in person until the Season 6 finale, ten episodes after his presence is first felt.
  • Laughably Evil: His theatrics and mannerisms are often hilarious, even for such a terrifying psychopath.
  • Lean and Mean: In stark contrast to his comic counterpart, who was Large and in Charge.
  • Lightning Bruiser: In physical combat, Negan not only hits fast, he hits like a Mack truck. Every time Rick goes up against him, he manages to beat him and Rick is forced to escape.
  • The Lost Lenore: His first wife, Lucille, died of cancer at the start of the outbreak.
  • The Mad Hatter: He admits that he's a lunatic, but enjoys letting everyone know it to scare them for a cheap laugh.
  • Mind Rape: The Season 7 premiere is mostly dedicated to him psychologically torturing and breaking Rick until he's enough of a wreck to comply with his orders. Although as season 7 progresses, it seems that this is a specialty for him.
  • Mood-Swinger: He can shift his emotional state from a dark and scary presence to a comical, happy act in a millisecond. Even his own minions can't get a fix on how to react to him.
  • Moral Myopia: He completely disregards all the pain and suffering he brings upon other communities serving him since all he wants is supplies that benefit him and his Saviors.
  • Motor Mouth: Negan just does not know when to shut up. Lampshaded by both Rick and Gabriel at different points, and Negan even jokingly admits to Michonne that he likes hearing himself talk.
    Rick: Do you ever shut the hell up?
    Negan: Nope!
  • Mugging the Monster: Initially, Rick is far too overconfident about the idea of facing Negan, believing him to simply be a Big Bad Wannabe (like Gareth), an enemy who's powerful but not overwhelming (like the Governor), or, as Daryl theorizes, a fictional boogeyman created by the Saviors to intimidate people. He is very, very wrong.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In his first appearance, he wears an exact replica of the outfit Negan wore in his comic debut. He also comments on two separate occasions that he should shave his Beard of Evil, as his comic counterpart was nearly always clean-shaven. He finally does shave his beard in the mid-season finale.
    • His killing of two hostages because somebody tried to take him down during his villainous monologue bears resemblance to a similar moment when Carver from The Walking Dead game does the exact same thing if Clementine and Kenny try to take him out during his speech.
  • Named Weapons: He calls his baseball bat "Lucille", in honor of his dead wife.
  • Necessarily Evil: How he sees himself: he feels that his despotic rule over the Saviors and their forced vassal states are how he can force them all to be strong.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Invoking this is a favorite tactic of his. When Daryl punches him, he beats Glenn to death. When Rosita tries to shoot him, he has Arat kill Olivia.
  • The Nicknamer: Fairly often.
    • Dwight: "Dwighty Boy" (the only time Negan refers to Dwight by his true name is when he learns of Dwight's betrayal)
    • Maggie: "The Widow"
    • Father Gabriel: "Gabe/Gabey"
    • Siddiq: "Dr. Baby Daddy"
    • Kingdommers: "Royalty Brigade"
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He has Carl remove the bandages over his eye so he can admire how mutilated his face is. He even asks if he can touch his exposed eye socket.
  • No One Sees the Boss: Going along with Orcus on His Throne, it's implied Negan doesn't often intervene in outside affairs, as the people of Hilltop have never seen him. Daryl even suggests that he's possibly just a boogeyman the Saviors made up. The Saviors' mantra is "We are all Negan," and Primo poses as him when he's out of options in order to save his boss the element of surprise.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In Season 6. If the Saviors we see are violent, abrasive and murderous assholes... what's their leader like? We don't learn until the finale.
  • Nuclear Family: What Negan forces Carl, Olivia and Judith to be for him in the mid-Season 7 finale. It's really more of a Big, Screwed-Up Family though.

     Tropes O-S 
  • Only One Name: Only ever referred to as Negan, and it's unclear whether this is his first or last name.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Prior to the extenuating circumstances with the Alexandria Safe-Zone, Negan delegated all interactions with vassal states to his lieutenants, such as Simon and Gavin. Aside from Alexandria, he's never been to any of them.
  • Papa Wolf: In "The Storm", Negan throws all caution to the wind when he rescues Judith during a blizzard, the latter having gone to get Daryl's dog.
  • Parrying Bullets: Negan does this with Lucille after Rosita had tried to shoot him. Needlessly to say, he treats this like it is a Minor Injury Overreaction for him, er... Lucille.
  • Pet the Dog: Every now and again Negan shows that for all his sadism and cruelty, he does have a kinder side to him. Examples before he genuinely starts trying to make amends for what he did include:
    • Subverted when he saves Rick from walkers that were attacking him twice during his "test" for his trust. Yeah, he was giving Rick a hand in an otherwise impossible situation, but it was also to teach Rick that he is in charge.
    • After Glenn interrupts him during his introductory speech he chooses to let it slide, understanding that it's an "emotional moment" for Rick's group. Downplayed slightly since it doesn't stop him from later killing Glenn anyway.
    • In addition to the above, he genuinely apologizes to the group for having to kill Glenn, reminding them that they were warned: "No exceptions!"
    • Oddly enough, the fact that he didn't choose Rick to die in the Season 6 finale because he didn't want to kill him in front of Carl.
    • Despite the sexist comments, he doesn't seem to look down on women in practice, as there are high-ranking female Saviors under his employ, such as Paula, Arat, and Regina. He also abhors the idea of raping a woman, his men stating that he only wants "ass that's willing."
    • Perhaps negated by threatening to kill her soon after, but he chides Arat for manhandling Olivia unprovoked while the Saviors are confiscating Alexandria's armory.
    • He has a genuine liking for Carl, and sincerely apologizes for making the kid cry over his missing eye, even comforting him after the fact like a father would. It's unfortunately downplayed by Negan threatening the boy in events surrounding it, but it's still something. He also takes a genuine liking to Judith, much to Carl's horror. When he prepares to kill him in the Season 7 finale, he tells him and Rick that he'll try to do it in just one hit to get it over with quickly, since he likes Carl. Shiva thankfully intervenes.
    • He also offers nothing but hospitality to Eugene when he's held captive in the Sanctuary, but this is because he wants him to join his group.
    • He sincerely thanks Sasha for cooperating in the standoff with Alexandria, not knowing that she's plotting to die on the way and reanimate and attack him.
    • He treats Father Gabriel with respect when they're trapped together in a walker-surrounded trailer, and even opens up to him about his past despite Gabriel trying to kill him. When they manage to escape, he orders his men to treat Gabriel gently when they take him into captivity.
    • He gives Rick his sincere condolences for Carl’s death, and his immediate reaction to the news is to ask if his people were responsible. When Rick later is hunting him, partially out of desperation, Negan offers him a new deal where AHK falls back under his control, but they only have to give him 25% of their supplies in each tribute. Then subverted a bit since a condition is that Rick must become his personal janitor and servant indefinitely.
    • He apologizes to Jadis for Simon's massacre of her people and even offers her the chance to come back to Sanctuary with him. Even when she refuses his offer, he promises to make it right, which he follows through with by killing Simon for her.
    • He apologizes to Gabriel for making fun of him at a time when Gabriel is stressed about his girlfriend Rosita possibly being hurt, though Gabriel angrily tells him to save it.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: His speech is littered with casual sexism and misogyny and he believes that Men Are the Expendable Gender.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Negan believes it's better to work as a protection racket for other safe zones in exchange for supplies. This is the only reason why he doesn't simply slaughter all of Rick's group. He leaves them a truck for them to use to gather supplies for his tribute, and at Alexandria, he does not touch their food supplies since if Alexandria starves to death, he doesn't get any supplies period.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Starting Season 7.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: He playfully chooses which one of Rick's group members he wants to kill in a game of eeny meeny miny mo while taunting them with petty insults. His process of coercing Rick's partnership also involves him bullying the man by forcing him to get his hatchet off the roof of an RV in a zombie infested fog area like a bully throwing a toy on a high place. When he hits Glenn with Lucille and dislodges his eye, Negan's taunt of "I just popped your skull so hard, your eyeball just popped out, and it is gross as shit!" sounds like a bully gloating to the poor kid he just beat up.
  • Psychotic Love Triangle: He's coerced Sherry into his harem, but competes for her loyalty with her ex-husband Dwight.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Wears one of these frequently.
  • Pungeon Master: A dark example. He makes cruel Puns regarding the ones he killed (specifically, Glenn and Abraham) such as them receiving the "Spirit Award" for their "efforts" and calling the weapon he used to kill them as a "Vampire Bat".
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: As in the comic, Negan appears to be a believer of this, as Wade says that "he only wants ass that's willing." Although, see Hypocrite above.
  • Real After All: For most of Season 6, Rick's group assumes that Negan is a fictional boogeyman the Saviors cooked up in order to strike terror into unsuspecting victims. The finale introduces him as a very real threat.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: His favorite look is wearing his black leather jacket, black faded pants, and his red Scarf Of Asskicking.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Negan is normally a Red Oni through and through, but falls under Blue when compared to Simon (who strongly believes Murder Is the Best Solution) whereas Negan prefers psychological manipulation and tries to see the bigger picture.
  • Sadist: He openly admits that he enjoys killing (men at least, though he'd kill a woman too) and clearly likes inflicting both physical and psychological pain; in fact, his debut consists of gleefully murdering two people and then spending the rest of the episode mind raping Rick.
  • Scarf Of Asskicking: He's wearing a red scarf underneath his leather jacket most of the time. He does when he kills Abraham and Glenn, two of the most competent characters in the entire series.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • "The Cell" shows that he's been secretly testing Dwight and Daryl to see where their loyalties are with him.
    • "Service" implies that he was testing Rick's patience with him the whole time when he asks Rick to hold Lucille for him while he proceeded to bully everyone in the community.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Prior to "Last Day on Earth", when he reveals himself to the Alexandrians, no one outside of the Saviors had any definitive proof that he even existed at all. Some even speculated that he was nothing more than a fictional boogeyman made up by the Saviors.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Though heavily Bowdlerized compared to his comic counterpart, Negan isn't shy about using foul language. In the uncensored version of the Season 6 finale, he uses the F-word a whopping 23 times.
  • Slasher Smile: His default facial expression, at least before his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Slashed Throat: In the Season 8 finale, courtesy of Rick. However, Rick chooses to save his life rather than let him bleed out.
  • Smarter Than You Look: At first glance, you may be given the impression that he's just a cruel thug, but he is a genuinely credible Genius Bruiser who has led his minions very well, if not in an evil way.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: He rarely yells at people, but when he does, it is truly terrifying.
    "But there's always work. There is always a cost. HERE, if you try to SKIRT IT! If you try to CUT! THAT! CORNER!"
  • Suicide by Cop: After being broken by his year and a half-long incarceration, he tries to goad Maggie into killing him by mocking Glenn's death to her face.

     Tropes T-Z 
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He stands 6'2, and is a crazy, imposing, and darkly comedic character.
  • Team Killer: Murders Dr. Carson (who was framed by Dwight), David (who was about to rape Sasha) and Simon (who betrayed and was planning to assassinate him).
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After Maggie leaves him alive, he takes on a less antagonistic attitude and his interactions with characters from that point on are portrayed in a much lighter fashion.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He loves powdered lemonade, and during the faceoff in the Season 7 finale, he orders Alexandria to surrender their supplies... and their remaining lemonade.
  • Tranquil Fury: The first time he confronts Rick's group personally he greets them in a positive, joking manner before giving them a Hannibal Lecture. He only raises his voice once, when Rick does the same to him, but even then isn't that harsh with him. In the uncensored cut, however, he does raise his voice a lot more. Starting with the Season 7 premiere, he is much more animated and loud, more closely resembling his comic counterpart.
  • Villain Ball: His decision to kill Dr. Carson for failing him comes across as this, considering the lack of doctors or people with medical knowledge in general there are in the apocalypse. True, he had to set an example, and he suggests afterwards that they're going to get the Dr. Carson at Hilltop to replace him, but it's really not wise to diminish such a valuable resource on the strength of one man's word and a coerced confession.
    • It could be interpreted that Negan doesn't even believe Dwight, and simply murders Dr. Carson to drive home the point to his subjects that no matter how valuable you think you are to him, he will end you regardless if you try to cross him. If this is true, then this trope is in effect even more strongly.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • He talks about how Rick pissed him off by killing over forty of his people when he never actually did anything to hurt him yet, and on top of that, struck with a massively overblown ego and without knowing the true scope of his organization.
    • When Rick calls Negan out on killing Spencer and having Arat kill Olivia, which he sees as a violation of their deal, Negan points out that the only reason he even came to Alexandria early was to deliver Carl back into his hands safe and sound even though Carl killed two of his men and was gunning for him as well, and that he killed Spencer for trying to usurp Rick through him and he was actually standing up for Rick. He also only kills Olivia and takes Eugene (who he learns can make bullets) to work for him, which, considering Rosita just tried to kill him, is a pretty mild response considering Negan could just as easily choose to start making examples.
  • Villain Respect: Though he takes every opportunity he can to make Rick miserable and torture him, he admits that he has respect for him. Negan remembers how Rick said he would kill him, clearly hating him for murdering Abraham and Glenn, but he has swallowed that hatred and put his pride aside, submitting to him and going out to gather supplies for him to keep his group safe from The Saviors, saying how all of that takes guts. Because of this he refuses to help Spencer with his plan to murder Rick and put Spencer in charge of Alexandria because Spencer is a coward who only talked to Negan after Rick was gone and wanted for Negan to do the dirty work for him.
    • This respect also extends to two more of Rick's group: Negan respects Olivia for standing up to him despite her fear, and takes a shine to her, even admitting that had he chosen someone to die instead of Arat, she wouldn't have been the one he picked; Gabriel, meanwhile, is one of the few to seriously unnerve Negan, which Negan ironically admires. The two work well together to make it out of a harrowing situation alive, and when they are finally safe in the confines of the Sanctuary, Negan treats Gabriel kindly, allowing Eugene to take him a blanket and an ice pack, later also granting him prompt medical attention when he falls ill.
  • Villainous Friendship:
    • He starts to form one with Spencer in "Hearts Still Beating", when Spencer introduces himself to Negan. After Spencer tells him about a Pool table and offers to play a game with Negan, he calls Spencer his "new best friend" and during the game he appears to take sympathy for Spencer when he tells him the story of how his mom was the original leader before Rick came and everyone in his family died, saying it was "the saddest story [he'd] ever heard". Subverted when he refuses to help Spencer kill Rick, and instead calls him a gutless coward for going behind Rick's back to ask Negan to do the dirty work for him before gutting him through the stomach.
    • He begins forming one with Eugene of all people, when he's held captive in the Sanctuary so he can convince him to join the Saviors as their Evil Genius. It's worth telling that Eugene's also the first person at the Sanctuary who isn't outright threatened by him or any of his followers.
  • Weapon of Choice: "Lucille" is a baseball bat, which, as a piece of sporting equipment, highlights his playfulness. However, it is also wrapped in barbed wire, demonstrating the violent and brutal side of his nature.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: How he sees the Saviors and himself: they're subjugating others in order to make them strong and able to contend with the Crapsack World they've all found themselves in. Gabriel takes issue with this viewpoint, pointing out that Negan's methods are dangerous and cruel.
  • The Wonka: Downplayed. He really comes across as crazy and random, but he has successfully outsmarted Rick Grimes with his skills.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • He views Daryl as one for showing his complete defiance towards his authority, but the only reason he's keeping him alive is because he wants to recruit him for the Saviors.
    • He also views Carl as one for showing absolutely no fear around his presence and admires how the Kid Hero broke into the Sanctuary just to kill him even though he knew it would end in his own death. According to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he views Carl as the son he never had.
    • In his own twisted way, he appears to respect Rick considerably more than most of his own people, even ones he's been with for a long time. Rick could easily stay home and order some of his people to go out and forage for supplies, but instead he always goes along and takes more than his share of the risks. Rick also always comes through and delivers supplies as expected. Negan knows he ultimately needs people like Rick, as if he has nothing but sheep working for him, then nothing will ever get done. Spencer finds out the hard way that Negan doesn't like slackers who try to get someone else to do the dirty work.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Though he claims he doesn't like killing women, he will not hesitate to do so if he has to. While explaining this, he also invokes Men Are the Expendable Gender by mentioning that he does enjoy killing men and could "do it all day".
  • Would Hurt a Child: He is seconds away from killing Carl in "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life" before the timely arrival of Shiva and the Kingdom.
  • You Got Spunk: He clearly admires Carl's stone-cold badassery in the face of a potentially horrible demise and seems more impressed than angry after Carl breaks into Sanctuary and almost kills him. He also seems to admire Abraham's willingness to sacrifice himself as the potential victim and for said victim "taking it like a champ" after Negan delivers the first blow to Abraham from Lucille. Likewise, he seems to respect Daryl after he attacked him for mocking Abraham's death and notes that (unlike Rick) he still refuses to submit. Similarly, he also respects Olivia for standing up to him and refusing to leave Judith and Carl alone with him. The Season 7 midseason finale shows that, while he may not like Rick and he'll take any opportunity he can to mock him, Negan has grown to respect him for swallowing his pride and continuing to work for him despite how much Rick clearly hates him. Enough that he guts Spencer like a fish after he tries to convince Negan to kill Rick and let Spencer be in charge instead.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Negan's reaction when one of the Saviors finds the RPG that took out Bud and his crew is one of astonishment and sadistic glee, stating he couldn't wait to test out that rocket launcher.
  • Your Cheating Heart: He slept around on his wife prior to the walker outbreak.
  • Your Head A-Splode: His Signature Move is to repeatedly whack his victims' heads using his barb-wired baseball bat until it's all gore.

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