The Walking Dead always leaves us with a lot of questions: Why did they kill off Carl? Will our favorite character make it to the end? What is “the end” going to look like, anyway? But among the heavier, depression questions is another that you probably wonder a lot lately: why is Negan’s bat named Lucille?
It’s weird, right? Especially since in pop culture weapons tend to be given names that, well, sound like objects — unlike ships and cars. Excalibur, Oathkeeper, Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer) and Needle all come to mind. So why is Negan’s bat named Lucille?
Why is Negan’s bat named Lucille?
It’s a little weird to watch Jeffrey Dean Morgan swing around a bat covered in barbed wire, call it Lucille and talk about it as if it’s a person. (If you don’t know what we’re talking about, go back and watch some episodes. You’ll hear Negan talk about Lucille as if she has feelings and also human needs, like thirst.) So what gives? Are we just supposed to assume it’s part of Negan being insane, shifty Negan? Actually, no, although comic book fans are much more equipped to answer this question than fans of the AMC show.
There’s a very good reason the name Lucille is so important to Negan: it was his wife’s name.
Lucille, the person, does in fact survive the initial apocalypse, despite the fact that she’s battling cancer. At some point she succumbs to her illness and passes away. When she reanimates as a walker, it’s Negan who has to give the order for her to be killed.
In the comic books, upon which the hit AMC show is based, Negan stumbles into a group while on the road before he runs the Saviors. Paul is a member of this group, and he happens to own a baseball bat. When Paul is eventually killed by walkers, Negan keeps this bat, decks “her” out with barbed wire and dubs her “Lucille.”
So it’s just a bat named after his dead wife?
Well, yes and no. Even though it seems easy to answer why is Negan’s bat named Lucille, it gets murky from there. Sure, it’s named after his wife, but he sort of comes to regard it as a placeholder for his actually wife, as well.
In the comics, Carl shoots Lucille, a crime so heinous to Negan that he commands the residents of Alexandria to throw the boy over the wall. (They refuse.) When, much later, Lucille the bat finally breaks — probably from overuse — Negan is devastated. He buries the bat the way you would a person and even says a tribute over the “grave” to the bat and the woman after whom it’s named.
Will Lucille the bat meet “her” end in the AMC show? Only time will tell. The story picks up with all out war soon. See if Negan (and Lucille) survive when the back half of the season kicks off with The Walking Dead season 8 episode 9, the midseason premiere.