Though he has been locked away and defeated, Negan's dialogue in Season Nine of The Walking Dead will be as abundant as ever.
The villain, portrayed by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, was first introduced in the show's Season Six finale. Immediately, his love for colorful and lengthy dialogue was on display as he trotted around menacing Rick's group of survivors. Through the two seasons which followed, the reputation was heavily reinforced as his long-winded lines to degrade, manipulate, or hear himself talk were constant. "That doesn't go away," Morgan tells ComicBook.com. "Whenever I see that I'm in an episode, I promise you, it's 42 pages of dialogue. With the exception of, maybe, [Episode 9x02."
While Negan's voice will certainly be heard in Season Nine, the songs he is singing might be a bit different. Being defeated and locked away in jail following the Season Eight finale is taking its toll on the villain.
"I think what has been interesting this year, for me, is that we're seeing Negan vulnerable," Morgan said. "I think the exception may be that first scene that you guys have seen where the setup for that was, I think, that Negan has been locked up for a spell. I don't think anyone interacts with him, except for possibly Rick. I think doesn't he come down and say, 'Hey, we haven't done this for a long time? Had this conversation?'" The scene, first revealed in the AMC show's Season Nine trailer, plays out in the second episode.
"I think Negan probably lives for that," Morgan goes on. "I think that's all he thinks about, 'Please Rick, come down here.' And, so, I think that is when he gets a little bit of bravado. I think as we go here the inner battle, Negan trying to figure out...I think he's going insane. I think the four walls have closed in on him, so he's battling trying to keep some sense of sanity. And, it's not going well. He's used to performing in front of a lot of people and putting on a show. Unable to do that, kill the party, is very important to his psyche. He's going through a lot shit right now."
It doesn't help the character that the prison where he is being held up is a hot, tiny, underground bunker. However, the set is literally just that, as well, which might be lending itself to Morgan's performances.
"I don't think he's eating well," Morgan said. "I don't think that he's getting to talk to people. These are things that are important to Negan, he's having a tough time. Add that to the shootings in that cell that's really small...it's been a long year for me!"
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!