The 1 Clue That Tells Us if Negan Dies in ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8

Some fans feel like The Walking Dead has a Negan problem. They’ve built the last couple of seasons around a character who is divisive, and that has arguably dragged the series down.

Whether you love Negan or you hate him, it’s clear that eventually, he and Rick will soon have to battle once and for all. The question isn’t really who will win their fight (spoiler alert: it’ll be probably be Rick), but how badly Negan will lose.

Here are all the clues we have about Negan’s fate — including what happens to him in The Walking Dead comics (page 6) and the huge hint we already learned about his future this season (page 7).

1. The war between Rick and Negan can’t go on forever

Rick and Negan'

Rick and Negan’s war must eventually come to an end. | AMC

In the Season 7 opener of The Walking Dead, Rick told Negan, “I’m going to kill you.” And ever since, fans have been conditioned to wait for that moment to arrive.

Their confrontation has played out over many, many episodes. So it feels like the ultimate battle between the two has been a long time coming. And if anything, the latter half of Season 8 seems to be promising that we’ll finally see the big moment come to pass.

Next: The Season 8B motto is telling for what’s in store between Rick and Negan. 

2. The second half of Season 8 promises a huge final fight

Negan holds up a gun

The battle between the two leaders is about to get even uglier.  | AMC

There’s a lot that The Walking Dead has to address in the second half of Season 8. We’ll see Carl’s death, the characters’ reaction to losing him, and a lot more action where the war with the Saviors is concerned.

But based on what we know about the remainder of the season, the main purpose of Season 8B is to “finish this fight.” Some might read this as a direct response to critics who’ve complained that the Negan conflict has dominated The Walking Dead for too long. Or it could just be a way to hype up fans that hope to see more action in the All Out War.

Either way, everyone is likely to be involved in bringing the war to an end. But there’s no question that it will all come down to a battle: Rick vs. Negan.

Next: Rick has hesitated before when it comes to killing his enemies.

3. Is Rick ready to kill Negan?

Rick looks at the camera in a field.

Rick might be ready to take out Negan. | AMC

It’s pretty clear that Rick will be gunning for Negan in the last Season 8 episodes. While they’ve had several close calls, and fierce battles where Negan has escaped by the skin of his teeth, it looks like the Saviors’ leader may not be so lucky this time.

Since the Saviors first crossed Rick’s path, he’s been through a lot. And in Seasons 7 and 8, he’s grappled with how far he needs to go in order to make sure they are no longer a threat. He struggled with whether to kill Morales, early in Season 8. But that was because the ally-turned-Savior reminded Rick of who he used to be.

His conflict with Negan is different. And Rick has shown that he is willing to kill his enemies, like the Governor, or Gareth, when the stakes are high.

There is one thing that might stop Rick from taking Negan out, though. And it’s not the logistics of the battle.

Next: Rick will be dealing with more than just Negan during the last Season 8 episodes.

4. With Carl gone, Rick will have to make a choice

Carl and Rick embrace while Michonne stands away from them

Rick could be different now that he lost Carl. | AMC

Losing Carl may lead Rick to act impulsively, out of rage and grief, and choose to take his pain out on Negan. Or Rick may find that losing Carl gives him even more resolve to fight, to make the world safer for Judith and the rest of his friends and family.

But it may have a different impact on Rick, too — one that could make it harder to kill Negan.

Next: Carl’s legacy could play a big role in how Rick approaches his fight with Negan.

5. Season 8 has hinted that a theme will be mercy

Rick looks to the right

Will Carl’s death inspire Rick to look beyond revenge? | AMC

Carl grew a lot during his time on The Walking Dead. He went from seeming as though he would grow up to be a cold-blooded killer, to being one of the characters with the biggest sense of empathy and humanity.

He and Rick have butted heads over how to deal with not just their enemies, but their potential allies. In the Season 8 premiere, Carl pleaded with his father to be merciful toward their fellow survivors. We also saw, in the flash forward to Rick at the grave, that he was grappling with a pretty heady decision: “My mercy prevails over my wrath.”

Before he died, Carl implored his dad to stop all the killing. His last request could be what finally gets The Walking Dead’s anti-hero to really question his thirst for deadly revenge.

Next: Negan’s fate has already been decided in the comics.

6. Will TWD follow in its source material’s footsteps?

A comic strip of a group of men holding weapons

Here’s how things played out in the comic, ‘All-Out War.’ | Image Comics

In The Walking Dead comics, the All Out War, and Negan and Rick’s conflict, has been over for quite some time. And it ended in a way that may surprise fans of the TV series.

Robert Kirkman’s version of events had Rick and his allies handily defeating the Saviors. But instead of killing Negan, Rick imprisoned him — and he eventually became a begrudging ally against a new sinister foe.

Of course, AMC’s The Walking Dead hasn’t always followed its source material very closely. But given what we know about Rick’s mental state, and the role that mercy may play in his decision-making, it’s possible that in this case, it will.

Next: One scene offers another huge clue about Negan’s future.

7. We’ve seen the biggest clue yet that Negan may survive

In a scene from 'The Walking Dead' episode 'Honor,' Judith greets a smiling Negan as he works in the garden.

Does this scene suggest Negan will actually survive? | AMC

The Season 8 midseason premiere did offer us one small clue as to how long Negan will be around, though. In the closing moments of “Honor,” we got a glimpse of a future that Rick is either imagining, or that will someday come to pass. And it showed us Judith, wandering around and greeting her friends — including a smiling Negan, hard at work in the community garden.

This is, by no means, a guarantee that Negan will, in fact, survive the war. But it does show us that, at least in some way, it could be possible for Rick and Negan to live in harmony.

Next: AMC is keeping the future of Negan under wraps for now.

8. Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s fate on The Walking Dead is unclear

Negan looks ahead while wearing a black jacket and red scarf

Negan’s fate will finally be decided. | AMC

In order to keep Negan’s fate a secret, AMC and The Walking Dead crew have made sure to keep details about Season 9 under wraps. Thus far, there’s been no announcement that Jeffrey Dean Morgan has signed on for another season of playing Negan.

So it’s possible that the series will pivot away from the comics and put an end to the Savior’s story once and for all. But they could just be keeping his future on the series mum so as not to spoil the revelation that he will survive.

One thing is clear, though. We’ll finally know whether Rick kills Negan or spares his life by the end of Season 8.

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @prufrox.

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