Viewers of The Walking Dead have other things on their mind right now, what with That One Thing that happened with That One Character a couple of weeks ago, but that doesn't mean we can't look to the future of the series. Fans who follow both the comic-book series and the TV series know that the show takes plenty of liberties with its adaptation, because it just wouldn't be that much fun to watch a completely predictable moment-by-moment translation, and as a result we have a lot of fun trying to predict what the show will and won't use from the comic.
So far, the TV series has given us a fairly even mix of invention and adaptation. Some characters who are still alive in the comics are dead on the show, and vice versa, while some characters (Hi, Daryl!) from the TV series don't exist in the comic at all. The show's given us classic comic-book threats (the Governor) and invented some of its own, but no matter where the show goes next, everyone's in agreement that one villain simply has to make it from page to screen eventually: Negan.
Next to the Governor (and, well, the zombies themselves), Negan and his little army of Saviors represents the most infamous threat in the comic-book series so far, and his arrival on the show is so hotly anticipated that fans literally search episodes frame by frame for signs that he's on the way. We still don't know when he'll finally show up, but a cryptic tweet has set off a new wave of speculation that someone's been cast in the role.
Earlier this week, Garret Dillahunt (Deadwood, Justified, Raising Hope and a host of other things) tweeted this:
Now, he did say "just cause," and of course The Walking Dead is one of the most popular comics in the known universe, so anyone could be reading it, but is there more to this? Well, The Walking Dead Compendium Three is the volume in which Negan first appears (that's him to the right of Rick on the cover), and as Pajiba points out, showrunner Scott M. Gimple just started following Dillahunt (pictured above, looking appropriately menacing) on Twitter, and Dillahunt followed him back. Now, that could just be mutual admiration between two guys in the TV business, but Gimple doesn't follow many people. Is he welcoming Dillahunt to the Walking Dead family?
Maybe, or maybe we're just talking about a couple of guys having some fun on Twitter. Either way, a new wave of Negan speculation is here, and if this turns out to be true, we're getting a fantastic character actor in the role.