Comparing two of the most popular The Walking Dead villains

The Walking Dead; AMC; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel
The Walking Dead; AMC; Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan; Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel /

Where the heroes of The Walking Dead shine, the villains cast a dark shadow. As wicked as they may be Negan comes out better than The Governor.

Rick’s greatest adversaries on The Walking Dead are, simply put, creative. From your typical tyrant to cannibals and even the lunatics who kill because they feel they need to, these villains speak from a different end-of-the-world viewpoint.

Of all the villains the focus will in this article will be on how The Governor and Negan compare in three areas, with Negan coming out on top.

The Governor

The Governor was the first long-term villain Rick and his group had to deal with. Going way back before Andrea and Michonne even met and before the town of Woodbury became a household name, Rick faced walkers, small groups of untrustworthy foes and unfortunately his best friend.

The Governor was right all along... Rick Grimes is a liar! - Photo Credit: The Governor on The Walking Dead season 4 - David Morrissey - Screencap Credit: AMC's The Walking Dead
The Governor on The Walking Dead season 4 – David Morrissey – Screencap Credit: AMC’s The Walking Dead /

All of that was handled well enough until receiving word that a man who called himself The Governor from a town not far from The Prison had two of his own captured. Taking that as the first move against him, Rick and a few others attacked and rescued their friends.

The Governor uses the events to persuade the rest of Woodbury that Rick is their enemy. Funny thing is The Governor already had intentions of dealing with Rick the moment he learned of him.


Similarly to The Governor, Rick first learned of Negan through another source. The brutal bat-wielding man was killing and controlling communities like The Hilltop stripping them of nearly everything they owned.

Rick sought to strike first and end the problem before it begins. After successfully killing everyone inside what was believed to be Negan’s area of operation Rick believed his community could work with The Hilltop and begin for the first time a sort of trading system.

Negan - The Walking Dead - Skybound and AMC
Negan – The Walking Dead – Skybound and AMC /

But in a surprise twist Negan was not dead and in fact, had lured Rick and his group into a trap to meet him where he provided a CliffsNotes version of how things were going to be from then on. To further prove his point he killed Abraham and Glenn before the group and broke Rick to the point of a near mental breakdown.


Comparing The Governor to Negan is hardly fair because they are two different men however with all things considered; the apocalypse has been occurring for several years now. This provides Negan with the upper hand who arguably can be seen as an improvement in the villain department.

To further prove this point, both men will be compared in three areas to keep it as simple as possible only using supporting evidence as portrayed on the AMC television series and not the comic books. Beginning with probably the most important aspect of any figurehead of a group of people.

Leadership Style

The Governor was a man who was able to juggle two sides of his personality at all times. One presented himself as a man of humility and leadership.

The other was dark and deadly. Believing to an extent that in these ends times resources will become limited and it’s-me-or-you mentality was what cost the lives of soldiers for their supplies and God knows how many other smaller groups.

Negan, on the other hand, was a man who like The Governor wanted stability but did not hide those he led astray. He was brutally honest in that this is the way of the world and any kind of neighborhood grilling and weekend barbeques lifestyle was long gone.

The Governor
The Governor (David Morrissey) in AMC’s The Walking Dead, Season 4, Episode 8 /

Negan’s personality, though split in two kept the more confident, brutal and vulgar side consistent amongst his peers only letting his humanity in rare occasions such as during his confession to Father Gabriel that he had a wife and when he wept upon finding out Carl had died.

While both men led a community of people Negan’s ability to provide an actual foundation makes him the better leader. By providing everyone with three options (four if you were asked to be one his wives) kept The Sanctuary in line.

Whether they liked it or not his rules worked. In Negan’s eyes, the world isn’t fair. The Governor tried to express and drill that message into the citizens of Woodbury only it happened too late where by then they were used to an easy-going lifestyle that they didn’t want to live any other way.

Battle with Rick

The Governor and Negan had similarities as two men who lost their wives and were in destined to lead people in desperate need of their guidance. However by the time The Governor met Rick audiences already knew how a simple meeting to discuss a truce would play out.

Whereas audiences didn’t know what to expect when Negan emerged from the RV because it was the first time he was shown in the flesh. The Governor’s approached in ridding the world of Rick failed twice.

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First by a sneak attack that Rick was suspecting and second with greater numbers. Yes in the grand scheme this avoids filler episodes and dragging out a conflict longer than it needed to be.

However, The Governor’s own pride and rage not only cost him his life in the end but the lives of several innocent others who happened to take his word as law. Negan’s feud with Rick became so intense it led to a war that did drag on for an entire season before concluding. In this case, Negan was not killed but imprisoned and did not let his rage destroy his composure.

Negan was able to roll with the punches while still keeping his eyes on the prize. Of all the things he was juggling he only missed one aspect that just so happened to come from the least likely person who flew under his radar to near invisibility.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Governor’s already twisted mind was enough to destroy him before he even attempted to build a world for survivors. Even if his path didn’t lead him to Martinez whom was in a new group and The Governor would simply live out his life protecting his new family, old habits die-hard and one way or another he would have become the same monster at the end consumed by pride and revenge.

As the expression goes, old habits die hard. Negan is no angel but had thorough reasons for his actions. Unlike The Governor, Negan valued people. He sought only to take lives when necessary, even sparing his enemies like Rick multiple times.

Negan with The Saviors at The Sanctuary - The Walking Dead - AMC
Negan with The Saviors at The Sanctuary – The Walking Dead – AMC /

The Governor’s control over his people at a time was a strength until that grip loosened as witnessed when they refused to return to The Prison after retreating to which The Governor resolved the issue by slaughtering them with no remorse.

Even his attempts to start over failed. Negan suffered a similar fate, having control of many until his own top men turned against him.

Negan’s decision to be feared instead of loved created a lot of enemies that he never believed would ever attempt to destroy him. He spent little to no time dwelling on the betrayals and focused on the bigger fish: winning the war.

The Governor lost sight of his end goal and allowed his rage to destroy himself and his people instead of going back, coming up with a new plan and trying again. Even when he did try again his plan was hardly solid whereas Negan thought of every possible outcome except for one.

Wrapping it Up

If The Governor was the prototype or experiment then Negan was the newer and more advanced model. He was able to take the mantle as leader of a larger community, better prepared, organized, established and living…however, not quite thriving.

Keep in mind both men were far from perfect but did their best from their point of view. The Governor was able to give his people, even for a short time a sense of hope and ways of living given the horrible reality just outside the gates.

Next. Negan from The Walking Dead joins the fight in Tekken 7. dark

Negan was able to provide security and safety through his methods of control which kept everyone in line without much opposition. If the two had met and sat down at a table it would be a wild conversation and debate over who had the better ideals for a world ripped apart.

Will the next villain be an even further improvement? Or has Rick as a hero already taken home the gold medal?

Leave your answers in the comments down below I’d love to read them!