Negan is more than the man with a baseball bat. He indirectly set the foundation that changed The Walking Dead forever.
The dangerous charismatic leader led a crusade that made him the most feared and ruthless foe to ever appear on The Walking Dead. Negan is the first to truly mold society and set concrete rules. Past people such as the Governor, the people at Terminus and many others were just surviving and living in uncertainty. Negan broke that survival mode and set us up for the era we have today.
Rick and his group were used to just surviving and taking things day by day with no long-term plans. When they entered Alexandria, it was no exception. They had food and people, but the food was running low and it was a similar situation that our survivors have faced before in the prison.
Negan crafted a foundation that brought forth his version of civilization. Rick and his group were strangers to any true system. The group was suffering and eventually they were introduced to Hilltop, Oceanside, and the Kingdom. All the communities had an encounter with the Saviors and lost something thanks to the system.
The transition of going from survivor to civilization is a huge leap and Negan laid it all out for them and “showed the way”, but he showed them in ways he probably didn’t anticipate. They were not used to living under rules, and from the very beginning it caused them to resist Negan’s way of life.
That’s what made Negan more difficult, because it wasn’t as simple as taking him out like they did in the past with others they have encountered. It was a system that even after the defeat of the Saviors, some were still stuck in their old way of thinking.
Rick and his group overcame the resistance from the remaining Saviors and they all became stronger as a community. Negan had doubts that the new system would flourish. They are no longer just survivors, but with the help of Negan indirectly, they re-created civilization and shaped a new way of life for everyone.
Even though Negan’s reign of terror cost us some of our most beloved survivors in The Walking Dead history. Negan raised the bar leading to the amazing growth we have seen. How will they preserve and defend it against the new threat? Find out February 10th when the second half of season 9 of The Walking Dead returns on AMC.