Comic book fans of The Walking Dead have been waiting with bated breath for super-villain Negan to finally make his way onto the show. They only had one big concern left after AMC’s perfect casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the baseball bat swinging baddie: what was going to happen to all of Negan’s swearing? Negan is a notorious potty mouth in the comics, but AMC exists on cable. And for some reason, you can show people getting their skulls bashed in, but advertisers are still kinda squeamish about swear words.
While that strange puritanical thinking will still limit the amount of F-words used by Negan on the show’s original airing, Jeffrey Dean Morgan confirms what we heard earlier this year — that we’ll get a much fouler and authentic experience on the blu-ray and streaming versions of the show. Here’s what he told Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s limitless. The amount of swear words that Negan has said in the course of the first, I think we’re on episode seven now, I’ve said every one as many times as it can be said. Now what we do with Negan is we have to film the TV version. And I’m still allowed a couple of swear words, I can drop them in here or there. And then we do what we call – I can’t even say it – the ‘F-take’, where I just let loose. And I let loose a lot when I’m off camera, like if i’m working with other actors for their coverage, when the camera is on them. I let words fly. And some are scripted and some are just in character!”
It’s still kind of unfortunate that we’ll have to see the censored cable version first. And let’s not kid ourselves: that’s what we’re getting … a censored version. Any time Negan is talking to another character, that character is hearing Negan swear. The actors are reacting to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s lines with swear words in them. It’s a bit crap, and I bet if AMC allowed you to watch the version with all the swears intact online for money, they’ll rake it in hand over fist.
This isn’t the first instance of The Walking Dead having more realistic language in the non-cable version. The best example I can think of is from the final episode of season four, when Rick and the gang end up trapped in a train car. “They’re going to feel pretty stupid,” Rick declares grimly. “When they find out they’re screwing with the wrong people.”
The original line from the comic uses the F-word for extra gravitas, and you can see in this clip below from the DVD how much better it sounds with swearing: