March 14, 2017
'The Walking Dead': Michael Rooker On How Merle Would Handle Negan

The Walking Dead has lost a lot of characters over the years, including Merle, Daryl Dixon's brother. He hasn't been seen on the show in quite some time, not since Norman Reedus' character found him turned into a walker. Despite their differences, it was a sad moment for Daryl because Merle was family. Last Sunday, Michael Rooker showed up on Talking Dead, which was a great surprise for viewers. During his appearance, the actor spoke about how Merle would handle Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

Possible TWD spoilers are ahead if you are not caught up with Season 7. Do not continue reading if you do not want to know what has happened since the series returned to AMC.

'The Walking Dead': Michael Rooker On How Merle Would Handle Negan
Michael Rooker discusses Negan, Morgan, and the Rick/Daryl 'bromance' on 'The Walking Dead'. [Image by Gene Page/AMC]

Merle Dixon was an unforgettable character. He was mean, unapologetic, a bully, racist, sexist, and every possible negative trait that one could think of. However, no matter how badly he treated his brother, he also tried to protect him. Merle died in Season 3, but what if he would have survived? On Talking Dead, Michael Rooker was asked how Merle would have dealt with the Negan situation. Would he fight the leader of the Saviors or would he join the community?

"Merle doesn't side with anyone unless there's something [in it] for Merle."
The TWD actor is absolutely correct. That was Merle's personality and motivation for doing anything. If Negan offered him anything useful, then he would have teamed up with the villain. However, they would have run into a problem if Daryl was kidnapped and tortured. Merle would not have allowed that.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's character may be a villain, but he does know how to read people. Negan is an expert at figuring out who people are, the best way to deal with them, and what will make them do what he wants. He would do the same thing with Merle if he were still alive.

'The Walking Dead': Michael Rooker On How Merle Would Handle Negan
Would Merle Dixon and Negan be best friends or sworn enemies on 'The Walking Dead'? [Image by Gene Page/AMC]

This is why Daryl Dixon and Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt) had such different experiences in the Sanctuary. Both were kidnapped, but for different reasons. Daryl was stripped of clothing, put in a dark closet, and fed dog food. To drive him even crazier, the same tune was looped endlessly. The point was to break Daryl, but it didn't work. When it came to Eugene on The Walking Dead, Negan sized him up and knew he was different. A scared survivor, he was book smart, knowledgeable, and would do more for Negan with a different tactic.

On Talking Dead, Michael Rooker also discussed Morgan Jones (Lennis James). On the last episode of The Walking Dead, Morgan killed Richard (Karl Makinen) with his bare hands. He committed the act in front of Ezekiel (Khary Payton), who looked horrified and confused. More importantly, Morgan killed Richard in the presence of the Saviors. It seems that him doing so and reciting Richard's words may have saved everyone in The Kingdom, at least for now.

Speaking of Morgan's shocking scene, Rooker said that Morgan losing it makes him more human, especially in the zombie apocalyptic world. He also stated that Morgan's philosophy can only go so far. He has to learn to adjust to the world that he is living in now.

As for Daryl and Rick's "bromance," Rooker was asked if Merle would approve.

"Yeah, I kinda do because when Merle was in prison with everyone else, Merle had ample opportunity to do damage to Rick whenever he wanted... I think he respected the guy."
The actor added that Merle was okay with anyone who could help Daryl survive and that's what Rick has done.

What do you think of what Michael Rooker had to say about how Merle would handle Negan on The Walking Dead? What do you think would take place if Merle Dixon were still alive?

[Featured Image by Gene Page/AMC]