‘The Walking Dead’: Is Garret Dillahunt Playing Negan?

For fans of The Walking Dead comic books, the long wait for Negan’s arrival on The Walking Dead TV series has been almost as excruciating as the wait to find out poor Glenn’s fate after that dumpster dive into a sea of walkers.

Now that Rick Grimes and his group have spent a little time in Alexandria, Negan fans can almost smell the blood dripping from the comic book villain’s beloved barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat. While they wait for his inevitable arrival, some fans of The Walking Dead are doing a little sleuthing to see if they can find out which actor will be playing Negan. Spoilers about The Walking Dead comic books and TV series are ahead, so read on at your own risk.

The casting of Negan is a hot topic among The Walking Dead fans over on the Spoiling Dead Fans Facebook page, and one actor’s name has been mentioned numerous times in recent days: Garret Dillahunt. Some TV fans best know Dillahunt as the kinda cute, happy-go-lucky grandad on the Fox comedy Raising Hope. If you’ve only seen him playing this overgrown kid character, you might have a hard time picturing him as The Walking Dead‘s most sinister villain yet. However, while Garret Dillahunt definitely makes a great goofball, he also has a history of portraying very convincing villains on film and TV — he’s been a very bad boy in The Last House on the Left, Justified (fun fact: his character was named Walker), and Deadwood, in which he actually played two villainous characters. He has proved time and time again that he can play complicated villains, so why can’t he be Negan?

Garret Dillahunt first sparked speculation that he has been cast as The Walking Dead‘s next Big Bad when he tweeted a photo of his new reading material. The official Walking Dead Twitter account responded with a little praise for the versatile actor.

Spoiling Dead Fans commenter Any Anonimi pointed out that Dillahunt’s photo only featured The Walking Dead Compendium 3, which just so happens to feature the arrival of Negan. Spoiling Dead fan Billy Morgan pointed out that The Walking Dead stars Alanna Masterson and John Carroll Lynch recently started following Garret Dillahunt on Twitter. However, the most compelling casting evidence is this: The Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple also recently started following Dillahunt, and he only follows around 300 people on the social media site. Dillahunt returned the favor, and now he’s also following the official Walking Dead account. Dillahunt can be seen hanging out with an AMC star below.

It’s hard to believe that all this social media action isn’t a sign that something is going on. However, there’s always a chance that Garret Dillahunt has been cast as another Walking Dead character. Many Reddit posters think that he would make a better Dwight. Dwight starts out as one of Negan’s lieutenants, but he eventually decides to defect from the domineering villain’s group. Dwight meets Rick Grimes’ group a few episodes before Negan does, and he has a huge role in the comic books.

However, if Garret Dillahunt did audition for a role on The Walking Dead, he probably auditioned for Negan first. During an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he explained why he enjoys playing villains.

“I guess they get a lot of good lines, huh? I like them — they’re complex, and I like complex characters. Sometimes the villains are the only ones that are completely drawn.”

Dillahunt was talking about his role in the 2009 movie The Road. He played a cannibal in the bleak, post-apocalyptic film about the struggle to survive after the collapse of civilization (does this plot sound familiar?).

So are you convinced that Garret Dillahunt has what it takes to play The Walking Dead‘s most sadistic, manipulative villain yet, or are you having a hard time picturing the Raising Hope star as Negan?

[Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Amazon Studios]