The Walking Dead‘s quality may have waned during seasons 6-8, but there is hardly any denying that the presence of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) during the All Out War storyline injected a surprising amount of wit, humor, and charisma to an otherwise bleak show. However, some people had mixed emotions regarding his introduction, and one unexpected person has finally opened up about his feelings on the matter.
Negan rarely displayed deep emotion early on, choosing to use his bat, Lucille, to show people how he felt about a situation. This was made very obvious from his first appearance on the series in the season 6 finale when the final seconds of the episode saw him take Lucille and bash in an unknown character’s head. The season 7 premiere revealed that he killed Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), but in a sudden and heartbreaking turn of events, he scarred us all by also killing Glenn (Steven Yeun) in a horrific and bloody sequence.
Executive producer and primary director, Greg Nicotero, was torn up by the decision to kill Glenn, despite it being true to the events that transpired in The Walking Dead comic. He felt the death was senseless and disturbing, and this led to a somewhat traumatizing experience directing the episode.
During his recent appearance on The Witching Hour, he opened up about it in detail, stating:
Listen, to be really honest, you know, the Glenn and Abraham episode, it was rough. I mean, it was rough emotionally for me because I remember reading the comic book and seeing Glenn killed in the comic book, and I was really disturbed by how senseless it felt in the comic book. Like, the guy just says, ‘Eenie, meenie, minie, moe,’ and then he was gone. And it really bothered me so when that moment came up in the show and I was really tight with Michael Cudlitz and really tight with Steven Yeun, and I knew that that was gonna land on my shoulders to direct that episode, I went in and I directed the best episode that I could direct knowing that I was breaking people’s hearts, and really sort of walking right on that line, but part of what the show really is about in this iteration of the show, it really is about that senseless one minute they’re there, the next minute they can be gone.
So it’s hard because I read a lot of great stuff about it and I read a lot of terrible stuff about it, and I would say there are times when I agree with some of the things that are said and we’ve had those conversations. There were things that came up, we had a conversation, I said, ‘Mark my words, someone’s gonna publish an article about that,’ and then the episode airs, and there’s an article and it’s right there. And it’s a little frustrating sometimes.
In the time since Negan’s defeat at the hands of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) at the end of season 8, the character has gone through a redemption arc that has seen him seemingly come to terms with the errors of his past. While many people on the show still don’t trust him, the exceptional writing and acting has managed to redeem one of television’s most vicious villains by using meaningful events that have slowly and realistically crafted him into a sympathetic character. While we may never forget his atrocities, the new Negan is a compelling addition to the hero lineup, and it should be exciting to see when and how he finishes winning over the anti-Negan holdouts in Alexandria.
Unfortunately, the season 10 finale of The Walking Dead was delayed due to the ongoing pandemic. It’s uncertain exactly when we’ll see how things wrap up in the current war with the Whisperers, but the episode is expected to air sometime in late 2020. Watch this space for more.