With The Walking Dead holding the highly coveted title of being the highest rated show on television, it became clear that audiences had officially become zombie obsessed due to the show. The Walking Dead costumes were a huge hit on Halloween and there are even zombie-themed accessories for shooting ranges and haunted houses. Oftentimes, when a show has garnered such an astounding amount of viewers, the expectations can be quite high for upcoming seasons. The series had the highest amount of viewers during Season 5 but the numbers for Season 6 were nothing to scoff at either. With Season 6 leaving viewers on the cliffhanger of who would be beaten to death by Negan’s dreaded, Lucille, the Season 7 premiere brought in the second highest amount of viewers for the entire series.
However, after the first episode, ratings plummeted for the second episode. Ratings dropped so low that it brought back numbers that haven’t been seen in the series since Season 3. Many people attribute this loss of viewership to the emergence of the latest villain character, Negan. In the comic book series, Negan is a character that fans of the series continuously want to know more about. In fact, he has become a huge part of the storyline and doesn’t seem to be just another blip on the radar in regards to main characters. Yet, fans of the AMC series aren’t gravitating towards this character in the same manner. Check out our list of the 15 reasons why The Walking Dead fans hate Negan and see how his emergence has completely changed the series.
15 Brainwashing Ability Among The Saviors
One of the smartest things Negan could have done among the Saviors is by brainwashing them into thinking that they are all “Negan.” This loses the person’s self-identification and it also removes himself as the sole man in charge. If everyone is Negan, then everyone can hold a certain amount of power. This works gloriously because there are so many outposts and smaller groups within the Saviors. Yet, the brainwashing element isn’t exactly something that fans can jump on board with. The fact that people have to kneel when Negan comes walking by is completely moronic to fans, especially since he rules with fear. To put this into perspective, the King Ezekiel character definitely has some eccentricities but kneeling to him doesn’t seem so out of place. He’s playing a particular character and it isn’t brainwashing in the same respect. Rather than looking like a strong character that is at odds with Rick, Negan looks like a leader of a cult.
14 Barbarous Acts Of Coercion
One thing that viewers have learned about the storyline regarding the Alexandria community is that loyalty is everything. When Father Gabriel went behind the group’s back and told Deanna not to trust Rick or his people, viewers were immediately angered by his betrayal. In order to have the support of the community, there has to be those that will forever remain loyal to the group and its leader. Negan definitely has a firm hand of authority within his group, the Saviors, but the method in maintaining power is vastly different from Rick’s approach. In order to ensure his followers remain loyal, there are barbarous consequences to breaking his “rules.” It’s difficult for viewers to relate to a character that can’t even spark love and admiration from his own followers. One of the reasons why Rick has been able to remain a fan favorite is due to the fact that audiences can see just how much he is beloved by those in his group. While Negan may be a strong figure in regards to his ability to hold the power, he loses that likability factor when fans see how he treats his followers.
13 Constant Grin
Typically, the villains in The Walking Dead series have been calculating in a way that the series has shown their schemes through internal conflict. The Governor spent a lot of time in contemplation and he had a major darkside that let itself be seen occasionally. While Andrea didn’t get to see it until it was too late, Maggie sure got to see his brand of craziness firsthand. The same can be said about Shane as well since he became a bit of a villain himself. He began to get fixated on Lori and the baby and ultimately tried to kill Rick in order to take over in his shoes. Audiences saw how conflicted he was as a character and they saw him evolve during his time on the series. Yet, Negan has a character that seems completely different as a villain. In fact, he seems like he’s leaning more towards The Joker rather than Lex Luthor. The constant grin while he’s unleashing his vengeance and the way he seems like he actually enjoys his killing and cruelty just isn’t something that has fans running over to his side.
12 Respects Defiance, Deplores Submission
There have been a number of people that have tried to revolt against Negan and his tactics. Rick made this abundantly clear when he told Negan that he was going to kill him. In hindsight, this wasn’t exactly a smart move to make. Rick has made it a habit of letting his true feelings be known to his enemies since he made a similar comment at Terminus and to the “Claimers.” However, Negan proved that he was a different type of evil than anything Rick or his group had faced before. Negan even made a comment about how he didn’t know what other weak type of people Rick must have dealt with in the past but that he is something completely different. Rather than killing Rick, Negan seemed to respect his defiance and gave him a second chance at falling in line. He did the same with Daryl since he tried to brainwash Daryl into becoming one of his lapdogs. Negan also showed that he didn’t respect those that showed weakness. When Spencer tried to show that he would prove his allegiance to Negan if they would put him in charge in place of Rick, Negan gutted him in the street. It’s difficult for fans to get on board with Negan because of not being able to rationalize his behavior. Generally, if someone were to show boldfaced defiance, that would merit certain death. Yet, Negan isn’t a person that can be reasoned with.
11 Rubbing Death In The Face
Audiences can probably wrap their minds around the fact that Negan undoubtedly needed to give off a show of force in order to get people to fall in line. However, there is an element of sadism to the way Negan rubs deaths in the face of those he tries to rule. When Rick’s group makes the deal with the people of the Hilltop community to wipe out Negan’s people, Glenn notices that there are photos of dead people with their faces bashed in on the walls above the beds of those asleep. They later found out that they hadn’t taken out the entirety of Negan’s followers since it was only one of many outposts belonging to the Saviors. Daryl also realized that the photos of the people with their faces smashed in weren’t the followers having a sick fascination of keeping dead people’s pictures on their walls. It was actually Negan’s idea to remind his people about what he has done to them. When Daryl was locked in solitary inside Negan’s camp, he was made to look at a similar picture inside his holding cell. This is just another reason why viewers can’t get on board with Negan or his tactics.
10 Death Method Of Choice
You can tell a lot about a person by their methods of killing on The Walking Dead, or any show for that matter. For instance, on the hit series, Game of Thrones, each house has their own methods of dealing with their enemies, which tells a lot about their characters. From the Bolton’s method of skinning people alive to the Dornish people and their fascination with poison, it isn’t just their willingness to kill that lets people know about their character. The same is true for the characters on The Walking Dead. Michonne is known for her use of her sword, which takes a considerable amount of skill. Sasha is highly skilled with a sniper rifle, Daryl has his bow and Rick seems to prefer his hatchet. Yet, when Rick’s group has been forced to kill humans, they have often opted for the most painless method by a quick stab to the brain. Yet, Negan prefers to beat people to death. This is obviously a bad way to go and definitely shows that he doesn’t care about letting the person have a painless death.
While there are a number of characters on The Walking Dead that seem to have an emotional tie to their weapon of choice, none of them have the same type of relationship that Negan has with his bat. Michonne may feel more secure with her sword but she didn’t seem bothered by posting it on the wall of her home in Alexandria as a decoration piece when it all seemed safe enough. Daryl also has an affinity towards his bow but he definitely hasn’t named it or demanded respect for it. Negan, on the other hand, has actually named his bat, Lucille, and has forced people to honor it in a way that makes it seem like it is its own character in the series. When Carl bombarded Negan’s camp and shot up some of his followers, Negan accidentally left Lucille by the front gates. When his follower, Fat Joey, brought Lucille to Negan, he was confronted with questions on whether or not he treated the bat with respect when he walked it over to Negan. This is more than psychotic behavior and it is something that makes fans hate Negan even more. Many fans can’t wait to see Negan go and surely Lucille will be put out to pasture as well.
8 No Backstory
One of the reasons why so many of the original characters from The Walking Dead series became beloved by audiences was the fact that the viewers got to know who they were before the zombie apocalypse. Rick and Shane were shown through flashbacks from their days in law enforcement and the same can be said about Carl and Lori. Maggie, Beth and Hershel were shown early on with a lifestyle that involved living on a farm in rural America. Carol was living with an abusive husband and even Glenn divulged that he was formerly a pizza delivery driver. Yet, Negan’s backstory hasn’t been told in the series. It’s difficult for fans to humanize him since they know nothing about who he was before the zombie apocalypse. The comics give much more insight into his character and fans of the television series would be completely surprised to know that he was actually a gym teacher before he became the sadistic person he has become on the show. With Negan becoming such a huge part of the show, it stands to reason that the showrunners will one day show glimpses of who he was prior to the zombie apocalypse. Until then, audiences will just have to take him for who he is currently in the series.
7 Breaking Up Families
There has been a particular line that hasn’t been crossed on The Walking Dead and that has been the separation of family members in regards to enemies of Rick’s group. While Beth was separated from Maggie, her death was shown as an accidental shooting and not a purposeful move to inflict pain on Maggie. In fact, the hospital group had no knowledge that Beth’s sister was out there in search of her and awaiting her safe return. Even at Terminus, the enemy group didn’t separate Carl from Rick when wrangling them into their trap. Yet, Negan seems to pay no mind to this rule about not separating families. In fact, he uses family members and those close to one another to keep his followers in line. This is a tactic that hasn’t been seen in the series thus far and only makes Negan even less likable. While there are obvious changes to the world since the zombie apocalypse, letting go of these ties that are so engrained into human nature seems like taking a step too far for most viewers.
6 Turning Good People Bad
When it comes to being a leader, there is a definite effect that people have on their followers. In the case of Rick, he seems to bring out the better parts of his followers in order to evolve their characters. When Daryl first started out in the series, he was akin to his brother, Merle, and was even considering robbing the group before Rick stepped in. Yet, Rick has inspired Daryl to be a better version of himself and is often seen as caring, forgiving and open-minded. Rick even inspired the priest to become a better version of himself by forcing him to become strong for the betterment of the group. Yet, Negan’s effect on his followers seems to be the exact opposite. Rather than inspiring his followers to become better versions of themselves, he actually changes them to adopt the same kind of mindset that has caused people to hate Negan in the first place. When Daryl came upon three of Negan’s followers that were trying to flee, Daryl went out of his way to help them. Yet, they wound up turning on him, stole his belongings, his bike and his bow. This only showed viewers that Negan can turn good people into those that would hurt others for their own gain.
5 Breaking Down Carl
Carl has become a huge fan favorite in the series, partly because audiences have seen him grow up on the show and partly because he is Rick’s son. Fans got to see Carl grow up before their eyes on the series and he has become a far cry from the bumbling kid that seemed to be trying to get himself killed. He has started to adopt many of the same likable characteristics as his father and fans have wanted to see whether or not he would finally get a real romantic storyline. So, when Negan began messing with Carl’s psyche, there was a really harsh reaction. Negan tried to force Rick to cut Carl’s own hand off as a show of force. In this instance, Carl actually told his father to do it in order to save the lives of the other members of the group that were being threatened by Negan. When Carl bombarded Negan’s camp, Negan forced him to take off his eye patch and even made Carl sing for him. The way Carl began to cry and break down was such a sad sight that it made viewers truly hate Negan on a new level. Carl has been through enough and fans didn’t want to see him being hurt for sport.
4 Stealing People’s Wives
There have been some sadistic villains in The Walking Dead series that haven’t been opposed to rape and cruelty. This was seen when Maggie opened the trunk of a car and saw a woman that had been cruelly tied up and mutilated by the Wolves. This was also seen when Daryl came upon a woman tied to a tree and fed upon by walkers. Even Carl almost became a victim of rape when the Claimers came upon their group. They stated that they were going to rape Michonne and then Carl would be next. However, Rick stopped that from happening and the incidents with the Wolves weren’t actually depicted. Yet, in the case with Negan, he showed cruelty towards women in a way that was just despicable to viewers. Not only did he force Sherry to “marry” him (even though she was already married to Dwight) but he made some horrible comments about what he wanted with Maggie. After killing Glenn, Negan sought out Maggie at Alexandria because he liked women that had their husband’s killed.
3 No Real Love Connection
Sometimes audiences can excuse despicable behavior if it is done in order to protect a woman. In the case of Abraham, the series showed some flashback scenes where it looked like Abraham killed an entire group at a grocery store. The deaths looked incredibly brutal but fans were able to forgive it once they saw that he was only doing that for protection. The same can be said for Rick’s brutal attack on the "Claimer" that tried to rape his son, Carl. Yet, Negan doesn’t seem to have a true love connection with anyone. In fact, he has an entire harem of women that all seem to have already been in relationships. He is basically forcing them to be with him since no one actually has a true connection with him that fans can see. Perhaps if Negan had one specific woman in his life that he was truly in love with, fans would be able to see a softer side to him that would make him more likable.
2 Ruining The Ratings Of The Show
The fact of the matter is that Negan’s presence in the series has caused a huge ratings drop for the series. Although the show is still the most watched television series, the drop in viewership is something that can’t go unnoticed. With the show losing such a drastic number in viewers, there is a possibility that there could be some equally drastic changes to the series. Oftentimes, showrunners become affected by how the public responds to certain elements in a series. For instance, in HBO’s True Blood, one of the characters that was based on the book series, Lafayette Reynolds, was supposed to have been killed off early in the series. However, showrunners saw that fans were really gravitating towards the character on the television series and he seemed to have major chemistry with some of the actors on the show. So, the showrunners kept him in the series regardless of the fact that he should have been killed off. The same can be said for characters that aren’t being received well in a show. The drop in ratings may force the hand of showrunners on The Walking Dead. While it could mean that Negan might be taken out of the series, it also could mean that the show will start to deviate from the comic book series and perhaps make other changes that will be equally unfavorable to audiences.
1 Killing Abraham And Glenn
When a favorite character has been killed off on The Walking Dead series, fans typically don’t place blame for long. In the case of Dale, it’s not like fans can be mad at the walker that killed him. In the case of Merle, it’s not like fans were completely heartbroken over seeing Merle killed by the Governor. Yet, viewers definitely have someone to blame for the deaths of Glenn and Abraham. Negan killed both of these characters in a way that was so shocking to fans that they still haven’t gotten over it. While many of Negan’s despicable acts have been carried out by the hands of his followers, the two deaths of these favorite characters were actually committed by him and his trusty, Lucille. Both Glenn and Abraham had a huge fanbase, especially since Glenn was one of the original characters on the show and Abraham had become one of Rick’s second in command group members. It’s hard to like a character when they have just killed two favorites from the show.