The Walking Dead has had a colorful cast of villains throughout its 10 seasons so far, including such nemeses as season 3 and 4’s The Governor and season 9 and 10’s bad guy group The Whisperers, led by the now-deceased Alpha and her right-hand-man Beta. These unique baddies have been compelling to watch, but none have impacted the show in such a meaningful way as the beloved scoundrel Negan, who turned up in season 6 to kill off two popular characters and wreak havoc on Rick and his group for two more seasons. And according to the man who plays said character, the series would be a lot less lively without him.
During the [email protected] panel for The Walking Dead, a question was posed about how the show might have changed if Rick and Michonne had killed off Negan at the end of season 8, where the former chooses to save the villain and imprison him in Alexandria to show mercy and build a foundation of law. Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan answered the question, stating the show would now be “boring” without his character.
Morgan is probably correct, too, as the series’ handling of Negan has been pretty compelling following the lengthy time jump in the middle of season 9. Negan has since started a very surprising redemption arc that has seen him not only show clear remorse for his past but also an active desire to integrate himself back into the growing society Rick built prior to his disappearance.
In an attempt to show Alexandria his devotion, Negan even secretly worked alongside Carol throughout season 10 by joining The Whisperers, earning Alpha’s trust and then chopping off her head. How things will ultimately play out for him, especially after Maggie returns in the upcoming season 10 finale, is unknown at this time, but it’s safe to say that his character has been humanized in a way none of us expected and may turn out to be one of The Walking Dead‘s most sympathetic figures. Kudos to the writing team for that one.