The Walking Dead: Negan's Debut Was Filmed Two Different Ways

Thursday, 25 February 2016 - 11:03AM
Zombies
The Walking Dead
Thursday, 25 February 2016 - 11:03AM
The Walking Dead: Negan's Debut Was Filmed Two Different Ways
It's official: Negan is making his deadly debut in the "tragic" finale of The Walking Dead season six, but it's unclear what version of Negan we'll be getting. The powers-that-be have revealed that Negan's arrival has been filmed in two different ways, not to obscure which character is going to die, but to ensure that fans will get to see Negan dropping the f-bomb all over the place.

In the comics, Negan's says "f*ck" practically every other word, and his profanity is a hugely significant part of his character. However, the show airs on AMC at nine o'clock, which, as a result of our country's absurd censorship policies, allows TWD to show people's guts getting torn out left and right but doesn't allow characters to occasionally drop the f-word.

When Jeffrey Dean Morgan was first cast as the villain, fans were concerned about whether he would be allowed to swear, and the actor promised that they were going to "push AMC."
Opening quote
"Look, it's a speed bump. I'm not going to say it's an issue because they're working on it," Morgan said in December. "We're going to push AMC - the plan is to push them as far as they can because it's who Negan is. He uses some colorful language. And I use some colorful language. And reading the comic, it's important. So we'll see where that lands."
Closing quote

Now, the producers have confirmed that they are pushing AMC to its absolute limit, going so far as to film two different takes of Negan's arrival: one that's true to his debut in the comics, and one with the dialogue cleaned up for the angry parent groups, until AMC makes a final decision.

Opening quote
"I'm still finishing up season 6, so there are still aspects of these questions that I'm figuring out," showrunner Scott Gimple told EW. "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."
Closing quote

Producer Greg Nicotero confirmed that the finale is being shot in two different ways, and that the "f*ck takes" are substantively different than the censored ones:

Opening quote
"There is a rhythm to it that even in some of the takes that we did. What I affectionately call the 'f*ck 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."
Closing quote

I really hope that AMC allows the "f*ck takes" to air, because Negan's dialogue would be very different, and less true to his character, if he were censored. Obviously, we'll never get a Negan that's as profane as the comics unless the show moves to HBO, but hopefully they can sneak one or two swears in there. The People vs. O.J. Simpson, for example, just aired the word "motherf*cker" on FX, although that airs an hour later than The Walking Dead.

Opening quote
"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," said Robert Kirkman. "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."
Closing quote

So most likely, we'll have to wait for the Blu-ray to see a Negan that's true to the comics in this sense. We'll still hold out hope that one or two swears will make it into the version that airs, but considering that AMC wouldn't let Rick swear just once in the fourth season finale (the famous line "They're f*cking with the wrong people" was changed to "They're screwing with the wrong people," but then was included on the Blu-ray release), even that seems somewhat unlikely.
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