After being stuck in jail for the whole first half of the season, the midseason finale of The Walking Dead‘s ninth run saw Negan finally make it out of his cell and back into the outside world. And that’s put just one question our minds: what trouble will the former uber-villain get up to now that he’s free again?
In the comics, Negan joins with the Whisperers after his escape, the group of creepy walker skin-wearing survivors that were also introduced in the midseason finale. Memorably, the treacherous foe turns on the Whisperers and decapitates Alpha, their leader. We’re not sure if we should expect this moment in the TV series, though, as showrunner Angela Kang has teased that things won’t be exactly the same on screen. Instead, Negan’s new arc will focus on exploring how he adjusts to the outside world again.
“It’s not exactly the story that was in the comics, but we thought that it would be really interesting to see,” Kang went on. “Negan has wanted out of that cell. He kind of got to a point where he was like, ‘Just kill me.’ Then we saw him after the big time jump kind of in a place of semi-acceptance of his fate, but he’s always wanted something more. He feels like he can be more in this world and so he sets out to prove that that’s still possible. What he finds is a really interesting and different world out there from the time that he came into prison.”
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While it’s only been half a season for viewers, for Negan, his incarceration lasted seven years, due to the lengthy time jumps that have occurred over season 9A. Kang teased that this could leave him unprepared for the world he finds outside of his jail cell, which is quite the switch from the days when the tyrant ran things.
“If you think about it, for him, so many years have passed, whereas our people have been adapting to the changing world, he’s just been in the cell this whole time. He learns some pretty interesting things while he’s out there. I think it’s really great to see Jeffrey do this really interesting almost Western-esque journey that I think will be fun for fans of Negan to see.”
It sounds like the TV show won’t so much be about Alpha and Negan vying for the spot of top dog villain but instead it’ll cast Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character as something of an anti-hero. And as for Samantha Morton’s Alpha, she promises to be a fantastic antagonist on her own, as we’ve heard that she’ll deliver a chilling performance. Which we can certainly believe from the eerie promos we’ve seen so far.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 10th.