SpoilersWe all roughly know what’s going to happen sometime near the end of this season of The Walking Dead, and we all know that a character named Negan (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) will be involved. In the comics, when Negan is introduced, he takes a baseball bat wrapped in barbed-wire that he calls Lucille and he smashes in the head of Glenn Rhee.
We’ve seen that even being foreshadowed several times over the course of the last couple of seasons, including the most recent episode, “Not Tomorrow Yet,” which contained gruesome pictures of Lucille’s victims. Glenn’s death in the comics is so widely known that, last year, Robert Kirkman joked that the scene in comics would happen exactly the same way in the series.
However, two quotes from the last few months, in particular, have suggested that the series will deviate from the comics when it comes to Negan’s first kill. First, Scott Gimple said that when it comes to the Saviors and Negan’s arrival, that we should expect some “hard left turns” as compared to the comic book. Second was the fact that Andrew Lincoln “felt sick to [his] stomach when [he] read the script,” and Lauren Cohan — who plays Maggie — saying that it “took a really, really long time for everybody to feel okay again after the finale.”
What could be so bad that Lincoln and Cohan, in particular, felt ill after reading the script? Glenn’s death by Lucille is unlikely to provoke that response because everyone had already known about that for a few years. But what if the “hard left turn” wasn’t a departure from killing Glenn, but a departure from the manner in which Glenn is killed?
A reader named Matt Seitz (no relation to the critic Matt Zoller-Seitz, I don’t believe) came up with an interesting and plausible theory that might explain both the “hard left turn” and the sick stomach. Reading about the inception of Negan, Seitz discovered that Negan was conceptualized in the comics when Robert Kirkman tried to avoid his original idea for Glenn’s death: Being forced by the Saviors to shoot Glenn in order to save his son, Carl.
That actually makes a lot of sense, particularly with the way this season has been set up. If, for instance, Negan held a baseball bat over Maggie’s head and told Rick to choose — shoot and kill Glenn or let him kill Maggie — there’s a lot of sickening dramatic possibilities there, including Glenn’s potential decision to ask Rick to shoot him to save his wife and his unborn baby. It might even be even more effective because of all the fake-outs where it concerns Glenn’s death. We’d never expect them to actually follow through on it, which would make it even more devastating when they did.
Of course, it could come down to a choice between Michonne and Glenn, and if Rick chose to shoot and kill Glenn to save his girlfriend, that might not sit as well with everyone else, which could create some interesting fall-out next season.
It’s a cool theory, it makes sense, and it would be a wicked left turn, and one that might make it difficult to sympathize with Rick again for a very long time. That makes it an even more intriguing theory.
(Hat Tip: Matt Seitz)