The Walking Dead‘s season 10C has been an interesting experiment. COVID-19 delays meant the next run – the final chapter of the core show – only began filming recently and will air later this year. Filling the gap have been episodes shot with pandemic regulations in mind, using limited groups of actors and focusing on character moments that might fall by the wayside of the central narrative. It’s been a bit of a bumpy ride, but the best looks set to come this Sunday.
“Here’s Negan” will show us Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s hugely popular antihero/villain in the days soon after the apocalypse. The story loosely adapts Robert Kirkman’s standalone comic of the same name, finding Negan dealing with his wife Lucille’s (played Morgan’s real-life wife Hilarie Burton Morgan) cancer as the world falls apart.
The footage we’ve seen shows the couple hiding out in a bunker with DVDs, a generator and a dwindling supply of cancer drugs. One particularly tense clip sees Negan kidnapped by a biker gang who want his medical supplies, with this new trailer indicating that these scumbags are the first to taste his bat’s coil of barbed wire.
Showrunner Angela Kang has been hyping this up as well, saying to Entertainment Weekly:
“It’s something we’ve always been looking forward to adapting at various times and gone, like, ‘Oh, it’s definitely going to fall in this stretch,’ or, ‘It’s definitely down that stretch.’ It’s just kind of moved around and it felt like this was the right time to do it here because we were able to tie it to something he’s going through in the current timeline.”
She also confirmed that this is inspired by rather than directly adapted from the comic, though by now The Walking Dead fans should be used to the two stories diverging from one another.
“I’ll say that it’s not exactly the same as what people have read in the page, because to tell you the truth, we’ve told some of those bits and pieces of story. We didn’t show it, but he’s talked about his relationship with Lucille to various people. We kind of took little bits and pieces over time. So when we looked at it, we were like, “To do this, we sort of need a very strong way into it. What does it mean for him? And really, like emotionally, what’s the story that we can tell?”
I think that in some ways it’s very true to the comic, in that it is true to the spirit of the love that he has for Lucille, but there’s a lot in our adaptation that is original to the show, but in a way that I think supports the same sort of emotional journey that I think he takes on the page. So there’s some lines that are almost straight out of the book, which people who are comic fans will recognize. And then there’s other things where we’ve made some different choices, but that hopefully will still be really cool.”
I’ve got a good feeling about “Here’s Negan” and my only worry is that it’ll be so great I’ll end up wishing they’d turned it into a spinoff miniseries of its own as opposed to squeezing the entire story in a single episode. Who knows, though, if the entire outing lives up to the trailers, there could be some awards gold coming Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s way.
Season 10C of The Walking Dead began airing on AMC on February 28th, with “Here’s Negan” scheduled for April 4th.