UPDATE: Will Negan arrive in Season 5 after all, or is this just a misunderstanding? The new issue of Us Weekly has a spread on TWD Season 5, including a paragraph labeled "New Faces" and this sentence: "Look for a flurry of survivors to be introduced throughout the season. Among them: Negan (he wields a bat named Lucille) and Father Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam). There's a quote from Gale Anne Hurd on Father Gabriel, who has already been revealed to be part of the season, but did Us just make an assumption about Negan or did they just share legitimate new intel? Hopefully it's just a mistake, since the timing doesn't seem right for Negan.
Original story (8/4):
*The Walking Dead comic book spoilers referenced ahead*
The Powers That Be are always messing with our hearts and minds, but that’s part of their charm.
The Walking Dead Season 5’s big trailer recently debuted at Comic-Con, and pretty much everyone noticed the clip of Glenn (Steven Yeun) poised for The End, as a mystery man swung something, presumably at his head.
Cynical fans didn’t worry too much about Glenn, since it will be a cold day in a Georgia summer when they spoil a main character’s death so obviously in a trailer. But TWD is always a remix of the comic books, and fans couldn’t help but see some parallels between that split second moment and Glenn’s eventual fate in the comic books.
Glenn does die in the books, much further along in the story, after Rick and company get to the Alexandria Safe-Zone (which should be introduced in the second half of Season 5, but they haven't gotten that far in filming yet). While at the Safe-Zone, although not immediately after they arrive, they meet The Saviors, who are led by a guy named Negan. His favorite weapon is a baseball bat covered in barbed wire, named Lucille, which he uses on Glenn in Issue 100. It almost looked in that shot like Glenn was getting an early look at Negan and Lucille, even if that guy did not resemble comic book Negan and the bat did not really look Lucille-ish.
Yahoo TV asked Greg about the Negan-ness of that trailer scene, and he said, "I can say I'm glad you caught that. And that your intuition... I can't say. I can't say. I can say that it's in the trailer for a reason." Probably to throw us off! Or just as a nod to comic book fans, as kind of a secret handshake for anyone who also follows the print story.
"I think you have to go back and see if there was barbed wire around the bat," showrunner Scott told The Hollywood Reporter of the clip. Comic book writer, and ultimate teaser, Robert Kirkman added, "We can see anything this season. Anything is possible — and good eye."
When Kirkman drops his “anything is possible”/ “it’s possible” line, that’s usually a good sign that it’s not going to happen. He and the other honchos even admitted to THR that the trailer has a lot of “misdirection” so we shouldn’t take it verbatim.
It’s not out of the question that they would move that Negan/Saviors storyline forward — they can do whatever they want, and they like to throw fans off track so we don’t get too smug thinking we know what’s coming. Still … we’re not buying it. There’s too much to get through to play that card too early. That doesn’t mean Glenn is necessarily safe — we read those death rumors and cheered when they were debunked, but for all we know they were just premature. If they do stick with the comic book timeframe and Glenn does get the same death he had in the comics (which is rare on this show), he might not live past Season 6. A Negan/Lucille/Glenn meeting might even make a good Season 6 finale. Gruesome, tragic, and devastating. But good.
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres Sunday, October 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.