For fans of "The Walking Dead," Rick Grimes is both the central figure and the hero of the hit AMC TV series. And the bat-wielding Negan is the epitome of everything evil. But in time for Season 8, viewers will get to see that the two characters share many things, specifically the capacity to do good and when the situation warrants, slide down to darkness.
This according to TWD showrunner Scott Gimple in a recent interview with Comicbook.com, in which he made clear that Rick the protagonist can be the antagonist too. And the same applies with Negan. While the character displayed no remorse for his evil deeds, among them the grisly execution of Glenn, Gimple said the person that used to be Negan was once good and the present Negan remains capable of dispensing good deeds or showing acts of kindness.
Gimple explained that viewers and TWD fans root for Rick because they saw the character development in the last seven seasons. Rick save lives, cared for his family and friends and brought to safety. And these acts came at a cost as there were tons of killings in between, and in some sense Rick lost his soul the way the Negan did.
The same Comicbook.com report took note that in the comic version of The Walking Dead, Negan was humanized by TWD creator Robert Kirkman. In his past, Negan was portrayed a broken man that likely set the stage for his grim present. But as suggested by Gimple, a deeper probe will indicate Rick and Negan share many things - good and evil.
But Rick no doubt has the sympathy of the TWD crowds - comic readers and TV viewers alike. "I think for Rick's experience, he's justified in what he's been doing. The world has formed him this way and what he's done has generally been a reaction to being threatened and trying to make sure that his people live," Gimple said.
In contrast, Negan while charismatic remains a mystery, which is true for the television series. And it did not help that the character was introduced by dispatching beloved TWD characters, with chilling brutality like bashing a man's head with the use of barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat. So it's hard to imagine that Negan's character will warm up to TWD fans, especially in the case of the TV series viewers.
In reality though Gimple said there is "a vast gulf between those two (Rick and Negan) but the way that they operate is very different. Their philosophies are very different and that's maybe where we see one person being the hero and one person being the villain."
For Season 8, TWD fans can expect straightforward episodes, the big scenes will be served quick and the plot development will be faster than ever. Gimple said, per NME.com, that while "things are getting greyer and greyer and greyer," they will unfold at "breakneck pace." It will be a more kinetic narrative, the TWD showrunner said.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC for Season 8 on October 2017.