‘Walking Dead': How Close Was Henry Rollins to Landing Negan Role?

Actor says original comic book character was based on him

Last Updated: June 16, 2016 @ 3:54 PM

(Spoiler alert: Do not keep reading if you are not caught up on “The Walking Dead”)

Negan on “The Walking Dead” could have ended up quite different had this actor gotten the part.

Henry Rollins, known for his hardcore musical performances and roles in shows like “Sons of Anarchy,” has said that he was almost cast as the new main villain on the hit AMC series.

“I was up for the role of Negan because Charlie Adlard, who worked on the comic book, based that guy on me and so I was a shoo-in for an audition,” Rollins told Forbes. “The Internet was wild with speculation because in the upcoming season they were going to introduce the character.”

“I went for the audition and there were five pages of really cool dialogue with all these curses and it was beautiful, but I didn’t get it,” he continued. “I later saw a photograph of the guy who did get it and he looks almost exactly like the comic book rendering.”

Rollins was of course referring to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who made his first appearance as the character in the Season 6 finale.

Despite a chilling monologue that left viewers’ hearts in their throats, Morgan’s performance was overshadowed by the controversy that surrounded the ending of the episode.

Negan selects a member of Rick’s group at random to beat to death with his barbed wire baseball bat, Lucille. But the camera switches to a POV shot from the victim, so viewers never got to see who died. The ending drew harsh criticism online, particularly toward executive producers Scott Gimple and Greg Nicotero.