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‘The Walking Dead’ Films Alternate Takes of Negan Introduction: With and Without Curse Words – But Which Will They Use?


One of the biggest questions regarding the introduction of Negan, other than who he will kill, is how AMC and The Walking Dead will handle the issue of Negan’s foul mouthed antics. The character is well known for his potty mouth and graphic metaphors. This has left many fans concerned that the show will not be able to do the character much justice due to limitations. However, die-hard fans have raised the argument that cursing is no more harmful to viewers than graphic violence, which The Walking Dead portrays of a regular basis.

Entertainment Weekly had the opportunity to speak with three of The Walking Dead‘s head honchos, creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Scott Gimple, and EP Greg Nicotero. In the interview, all three men acknowledge the difficulties regarding Negan’s language barrier. While the show is known for using alternate f-bomb takes for the Blu-ray release of a season, it hasn’t yet taken the opportunity to include curse-laden quotes in the show.

As it turns out, they actually ended up shooting two different versions of Negan’s introduction, one with curse words and one without.

From showrunner Scott Gimple,

“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.”

EP Greg Nicotero had this to say,

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.”

Robert Kirkman also weighed in on what fans should expect to see in the finale.

“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.”

From what it sounds like, it’s unlikely that fans will enjoy the Negan we know and love from the comics on the television series. However, it does sound as though the alternative version will be included on the Blu-ray.

How do you think the show should handle Negan’s cursing? Should AMC loosen restrictions and allow curse words, even if it might impact advertisers negatively? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.

Ryan Smith