Gimple wants fans to get “full octane” Negan in some way on The Walking Dead

Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester, Supernatural - The CW
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as John Winchester, Supernatural - The CW /

Negan’s introduction to The Walking Dead is huge: the casting, the anticipation and the curiosity about his language. The producers are keenly aware of this.

“They’re screwing with the wrong people.” Some fans wanted a little more from this line. It didn’t bother me. It still had the intensity that was necessary. But fans got their wish on the DVD.

This was only one line and that particular word is not part of who Rick Grimes is as a person. Apparently, it’s a huge part of Negan’s personality and character and a source of anxiety for comic fans as to how AMC and the producers of The Walking Dead plan to handle it.

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I think what the fans really don’t want is softened versions of that word like freak or frack. I think it would be better to leave it out altogether or use other profanity instead to keep the feel of the character in tact.

But some fans don’t want any concessions made. However, AMC doesn’t want fines or other repercussions from just using the word freely. Entertainment Weekly has some clues from some of the producers as to how they will handle things, including double takes, or double filming, for DVD and perhaps the initial airing.

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Robert Kirkman
Comic creator, exec producer
“I would say that there are certain words that try as I might, we are not allowed to say on AMC, and those are certain words that Negan likes to say. So those words are going to be filmed, and people are going to be able to get those words, but there are definitely some broadcast limitations that we’re going to have to deal with. We’re sorting that out now, but I will say that, worst-case scenario, the extras will be extra-special on Blu-ray. I mean, we’re trying to explore some other more interesting options, but that’s the bare minimum of what we’ll be doing.”

Scott M. Gimple
Showrunner, exec producer
“I’m still finishing up season 6, so there are still aspects of these questions that I’m figuring out. But I will say that my goal is for, at the very least, in some way — might not be all the time, and it might not even be directly through your TV box — that people will be able to get full-octane Negan. I’m still playing around with it, but I will say I do have the material two ways right now. I’ll see what I can do with it. One way or another I want people to see full-octane Negan. Will I be able to shoot every scene like that? Probably not, but to tell you the truth, I think we will get as close to the version of full-octane Negan as we can through some version of the show or another.”

Greg Nicotero
Director, exec producer
[On if he shot Negan’s entrance in the season finale two ways] “That would be a very good guess. We’ve talked about that. Even back when Michael Cudlitz was cast as Abraham we were like, ‘Damn, how are we going to deal with Abraham’s dialogue?’ And I think Gimple went, ‘Yeah, Abraham’s dialogue is fine. It’s Negan that we’re going to have problems with because every other word of Negan’s is f—.’ There is a rhythm to it that even in some of the takes that we did. What I affectionately call the ‘f— takes’ have a completely different rhythm to them and a completely different feel. So while editing it, I was very careful to make sure that I preserved a lot of the performance without getting myself into trouble with the profanity.”

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In general, I think fans should wait and see. Trust the producers and writers who have given us the show we’ve loved for these past 6 seasons and hope that Negan, indeed, does change the game and give a whole new energy and trajectory to The Walking Dead.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)