Ask any Walking Dead enthusiast to name their favorite villain – either on TV or otherwise – and they’ll likely gravitate towards Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan.
He’s been a constant thorn in Rick’s side ever since the season 6 finale, and though he wasn’t directly responsible for Carl’s untimely death on The Walking Dead‘s midseason opener, “Honor,” Morgan’s expressed his own disappointment that the relationship between Negan and Carl Grimes wasn’t further explored before the latter kicked the bucket.
In Robert Kirkman’s ongoing comic book saga, that fiery dynamic between Negan and Carl took center stage shortly after the famous All-Out War arc. And while that very storyline has formed the basis of The Walking Dead season 8, with Carl Grimes now out of the picture, any hopes of a Negan/Carl plot have been snuffed out – presumably for good.
That’s something that Jeffrey Dean Morgan acknowledged in a recent Instagram post (h/t ComicBook.com), which begins with the actor regaling his followers with a heartfelt message:
man…. what a pleasure. Not only getting to work with you… but, getting to know you. You, my friend, are an incredible young man. Well before joining this cast I was a fan… a fan that loved watching you grow up in front of a camera. From the moment you first put on the way too large sheriffs hat as a boy… to the end, the hat so befitting of the man Carl had become. Wiser and more compassionate than all of us. You held all of our hearts.
Continuing on, The Walking Dead‘s über-villain bemoaned what could have been, and it seems Chandler Riggs had also expressed an interest in exploring the Carl/Negan relationship further on screen.
Honestly… a huge reason I wanted so badly to join this band of misfits… was because I was such a fan of the Negan Carl relationship in the comics… that storyline was one of my favorites, as I know it was one of yours. I’ll forever be disappointed we only scratched the surface of what could have been. BUT… I can take total solace in the fact that you are out there… doing your thing.
You’ve grown into an amazing young man as well as a powerful actor… the world is your oyster, Riggs. We all get to sit back and watch you kill it. So.. know you are missed on the show… but know you have a big ole group of family all here for you if needed… and eagerly awaiting whatever comes next. Love you, Riggs. See you soon.
And, well, the rest is history. The Walking Dead‘s midseason premiere ended with Carl Grimes being lowered into the ground, leaving his father Rick on a collision course with Negan and his Saviors. Expect that battle to continue via “The Lost and the Plunderers” this Sunday.