The Heartbreaking Story Behind Negan’s Bat, Lucille, On ‘The Walking Dead’

When The Walking Dead returns, we will find out in the seventh season premiere the answer to the sixth-season cliffhanger: Who does Negan kill? We don’t know who will die yet, but we do know two things: It will be disturbing, and the victim will succumb to injuries inflicted by Lucille.

Who is Lucille? She’s the baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire that Negan carries around with him. Negan has a very special relationship with his bat, Lucille, as these panels from Robert Kirkman’s comic show:

To understand Negan’s strong, sexual attachment to a baseball bat, it helps to understand the backstory. In Robert Kirkman’s comic series right now, Negan’s 48-page backstory, “Here’s Negan,” is being told 4 pages at a time. So far, that backstory has covered 16 pages over four issues, which is enough to clue us in on Lucille’s namesake. The television series will be providing some backstory on Negan this fall, so this information is considered a Spoiler. In fact, if I were directing the premiere episode, I would include Lucille’s backstory in the cold open, before we even find out who Negan kills, because knowing this information will probably make the death scene even more heart-wrenching.

Spoilers to follow

We find out that, pre-apocalypse, Negan was a school gym teacher. In that capacity, he was also an asshole. He swore at his students, and earned more than a few complaints from their parents. Despite his wife’s protestations, however, he refused to knock off the profanity because it earned him respect and made him cool in the eyes of the kids. In the first installment of “Here’s Negan,” he’s seen coaching a few of his students at ping pong when his wife collapses.

In the second installment, we learn that Negan’s wife has cancer. We also learn that, after Negan finds out his wife’s diagnosis, he has an affair to help him emotionally cope with her illness. In the third installment, however, Negan tells his wife about the affair and ends it, deciding to rededicate his life to his wife, to be there by her side. Unfortunately, his wife’s condition continues to deteriorate.

This is also around the time the zombie apocalypse breaks out. As zombies begin to overtake the hospital, Negan barricades himself and his wife inside the room, which is when Negan checks his wife’s pulse and realizes that she’s died. A heartbroken Negan looks outside and sees a horde of zombies surround a car. Behind him, he hears the sounds of his dead wife re-animated.

After she falls off the bed, Negan asks, “Lucille?”

Lucille is Negan’s dead wife.

There are still 32 pages left in Negan’s origin story, and it will take months more to tell the entire saga, so there’s a chance that the series could provide more origin details before the comics. We still don’t know how Negan came across the bat, or whether he had to use it to kill his reanimated wife, nor do we know how he came to become the leader of the Saviors. Those answers will surely come in one form or another, although we can assume that the barbed wire is a metaphor for the pain his wife’s death inflicted upon him.

In the meantime, Negan’s heartbreaking backstory may add some unexpected poignancy to the death scene in the seventh season premiere. Not to unnecessarily stoke any additional rumors, but it may also point to a possible victim. Having suffered the loss of a wife, Negan knows more than anyone the emotional pain of it. If he’s as vicious and cruel as he’s been made out to be, he may very well choose Maggie as Lucille’s victim, if only because he knows what kind of psychological damage that might do to Glenn.