Negan has been the big bad of The Walking Dead for the past two and a bit seasons, but he was finally defeated at the end of season 8. However, in a controversial move, Rick Grimes decided to keep his nemesis alive and lock him up, as a sign that he’s better than the Lucille-wielding lunatic. Apparently, though, it seems that Negan’s incarceration might have an unintended side-effect of redeeming him.
While speaking at the TWD panel at SDCC yesterday, Jeffrey Dean Morgan promised that viewers would get to see “a new side of Negan” immediately in season 9 and teased that the villain would even find “redemption” over the new run.
“We’re going to see a new side of Negan quickly in [season 9]. A lot of him trying not to go crazy being in the situation he’s in. I think there’s redemption for Negan.”
The reason for this growth as a character is that being locked in a cell forces Negan to do some navel-gazing and think about the sort of person that he is, leading him to deal with some issues he’s tried to keep buried.
“It’s a different Negan, a different side of Negan. He’s in a bit of a predicament and he’s having to face some stuff both internally and outside that he hasn’t had to deal with before.”
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Panel moderator Yvette Nicole Brown then asked if Morgan enjoyed the new dynamic for the character as an actor, as his role in season 9 mostly involves him sitting in the same set while other members of the cast came to visit him. The actor replied that he does enjoy it, but he’s “itching” to break free and cause havoc again.
“He likes to talk, so it’s important that people come and visit him, As an actor it’s been okay, but as the character I could be itching to get out of there.”
We got a tease as to Negan and Rick’s new dynamic in the first trailer for The Walking Dead season 9 that was revealed at Comic-Con yesterday. It didn’t hint at a change of heart from Morgan’s character, but it did see him still getting inside Rick’s head even from behind bars, as he taunted his enemy by warning him that the peace he had set up would not last. We’ll see if Negan knows what he’s talking about when season 9 premiere airs on AMC on October 7th.