When Jeffrey Dean Morgan introduced himself as Negan to the small screen during last season's finale, he certainly left one heck of an impression. I would even go as far as saying that Negan's debut in "#The Walking Dead" was the most intense scene in the entire series thus far -- and that's saying a lot considering this is a series set in a post-apocalyptic world in which gory corpses feast on the living! The feeling of vulnerability and utter despair underscored by Morgan's impeccable portrayal of the character really did do a number on me. After watching the season finale, I felt absolutely drained and upset. So did a majority of the TWD fans who were left speechless by the showrunners' decision to end season 6 on such a devastating cliffhanger.
Negan: charismatic and lethal
Three episodes into season 7 and two bashed heads later, we now know why comic book readers have been so obsessed with Negan. The villain is basically the equivalent of the Batman's Joker within "The Walking Dead" universe! He's utterly cruel and merciless, yet somehow very charismatic and charming at the same time. And when he's made up his mind about something -- it's over. Negan's definitely not all talk and no action. This is exactly why I believe that Negan's only getting warmed up and I predict that by the end of this season there's going to be at least one more major death.
Just the beginning
At this point Negan has completely undermined Rick's position of leadership. Rick has been figuratively castrated, shamed and broken by him in front of everyone. This is arguably the protagonist's lowest point in the series so far. However, knowing Rick's love for his friends and family as well as his resilience, we can certainly expect a massive rebellion (or in other words, an all-out war between Alexandria and The Saviors). The Hilltop and The Kingdom could definitely get involved as well. Things will surely heat up and escalate beyond comprehension, but will that be enough to put an end to Negan's reign and tyranny? I for one wouldn't underestimate him and confidently assert that he'll be a much tougher nut to crack than The Governor or the cannibals of Terminus. So what happens if things don't go Rick's way?
'You don't really think you're going to get through this without being punished'
If Alexandria rebels and loses, the consequences will be dire. Would Negan be wiping out the entire population of the colony, though? Probably not. He's made it clear from the get go that he doesn't want to kill without reason, because he'd much rather have people working and producing for him. They can't do that when they're dead. Obviously, this wouldn't mean that Rick and his friends would be getting away unscathed and the punishment would certainly be much more severe than the first time around. Who'd be getting their head caved in, though? When Abraham got the beating, I kind of had the feeling that he wasn't really picked randomly. I think that Negan felt threatened by Abraham's fearless presence and massive stature and decided to get rid of him right away. This behavior would suggest that Negan would be going for the leader of a potential rebellion, who in this case would be Rick. Of course Negan could've just executed Rick during their first encounter, but Negan clearly thought that he'd be able to use Carl as leverage.
So basically what I am saying is that no one is really safe as long as Negan's around the block. Not even Rick. Especially not Rick.