The Walking Dead Hid An Escape From New York Easter Egg In Plain Sight

If Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) of "The Walking Dead" were to have learned something, perhaps even been inspired by other dystopian or post-apocalyptic figures, it wouldn't be entirely out of left field. One has to reasonably assume that, whatever calamity sets the collapse of civilization in motion, there will be those who have watched enough other shows and movies to have absorbed a few tips.

Negan comes across as one of those people, and not just because, when we first meet him in his more ruthless and villainous iteration, he seems to be actually enjoying the end of the world. Like most of the survivors on "The Walking Dead," he is nothing if not resourceful, and certainly resourceful enough to scan through his head for other things he might have picked up on watching, say, "Escape from New York."

A few fans seem to have picked up on this. Over at the r/thewalkingdead subreddit there is a picture of Negan carrying a very unique-looking gun — part sniper rifle, part Uzi — during the Season 7 finale, which commenter u/Thornhill_Industries and other users identified as "Snake Plissken's gun in Escape from New York." Plissken, famously played by Kurt Russell, is, of course, the gravel-voiced, eye-patched mercenary from John Carpenter's 1981 dystopian adventure film.

Negan is about to get a lot closer to Snake's stomping grounds

"Escape from New York," in which the island of Manhattan has become a massive outdoor prison in a war-torn and crime-ridden United States, had since become not just a modern classic, but a pillar in the pantheon of sci-fi dystopia. Lest anyone think that the redditors are seeing connections where there are none, the deliberate use of Plissken's weapon was confirmed on that evening's "Talking Dead." And again, if Negan were to have picked up that gun, wherever he may have acquired it, and immediately thought of his last viewing of John Carpenter's campy classic, it wouldn't be surprising. 

"Escape from New York" wasn't the only opportunity audiences have had to root for Snake Plissken, though it probably is the only one we want to remember. Released in 1996, "Escape from L.A." was Carpenter's attempt to keep Plissken's story going, though it flopped at the box office and is more or less seen as vastly inferior to the original. 

Given the adventure that Negan is about to go on, he's probably going to need a lot more of Snake's survival skills. The first of a handful of spin-offs in the universe of "TWD" will be "The Walking Dead: Dead City," in which Negan, alongside Maggie (Lauren Cohan) enter a zombie-infested New York City to rescue her son Hershel (Logan Kim) from kidnappers.