Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery makes a dreamy young Negan in a new piece of fan art mashing up Netflix’s hit sci-fi series with AMC’s The Walking Dead. Keery and the rest of the Stranger Things gang recently returned for their epic second season on Netflix, while Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan is currently back to his old menacing ways in (a thus far low-rated) season 8 of The Walking Dead.
Negan was front-and-center in last week’s Walking Dead episode “The Big Scary U,” though he was not his usual one-liner-spouting, head-splitting self. Taking a time-out from Morgan slowly melting down, people relentlessly shooting machine guns and Ezekiel reciting bad Shakespearian dialog, the episode focused largely on the panicky Saviors and their normally-impenetrable leader, who found himself in an unusually confessional mood while trapped in a Walker-surrounded trailer with Gabriel (the underrated Seth Gilliam). For the first time in the show, Negan gave us some hints about his life before the zombie apocalypse when he worked with children and had a wife who ended up dying of cancer. This glimpse of a more-human Negan set up the possibility of further exploration of what Negan’s life was like before he became a leather-jacket-wearing, baseball-bat-swinging, harem-keeping post-apocalyptic dictator.
Artist BossLogic, who often unleashes his talents on pop culture-related subjects, has taken the idea of young Negan and ran with it, imagining what Negan might be like if you shaved about twenty-five years off his age and gave him an ’80s haircut. The result is Stranger Things‘ Steve doing Negan cosplay.
— BossLogic (@Bosslogic) November 23, 2017
Like Negan, Steve himself is no stranger to using a baseball bat as a weapon. In season 1 of Stranger Things, Steve pounded some nails into a bat in order to properly arm himself for a battle against the Demogorgon. In season 2, when Dustin’s adorable new pet Dart evolved into a murdering Demodog, Steve broke out the old bat and once again went to war against the monsters of the Upside Down. He gets extra points for doing all this without ever mussing his perfect ’80s-jock hair.
Outside of the fact that both men wield a baseball bat as their primary weapon, Steve and Negan actually don’t have that much in common. It’s impossible to imagine Steve pounding a human victim’s head into a pulp like Negan, or dropping groaningly dumb one-liners, or goading Carl into removing his eye-patch just to get a look at how messed up his eye is. And it’s equally impossible to imagine Negan using Farrah Fawcett spray on his hair.
Realistically though, if The Walking Dead ever does explore Negan’s backstory, it’s unlikely they would wind back far enough in time to employ an actor as young as Joe Keery in the role. And they certainly wouldn’t give him perfect hair. And it would make no sense for him to have a barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat, since Negan didn’t get that prop until after zombies took over the world. That said, the idea of Steve as Negan is still pretty hilarious.