The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan Says Negan’s Season 10 Story Isn’t a “Redemption Arc”

The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan doesn’t characterize Negan’s Season 10 story as a redemption arc, but says audiences will see a new shade of the former Savior leader.

“I think in the last, what, ten years or so, that he’s been in either a jail cell or sort of become on the outskirts of the Alexandria community. I think that there’s been changes within Negan,” Morgan said at San Diego Comic-Con.

“It’s people like Judith [who] have brought out stuff in him, certainly, that the audience has gotten to see, but Negan is always Negan. He’s going to always have a sharp tongue. He may not be bashing a head with Lucille, but he will certainly stab you with some words.”

The long-jailed Negan is “getting to stretch his legs a little bit in year 10” — he’s released to perform chores during the day and returned to his cell at night — and has “changed a little bit” over his near-decade solitary confinement.

“People want to say a redemption arc, I don’t know if it’s much of a redemption arc, because I think he’s always been who he is. We’ll see,” Morgan added. “I don’t think that he’s excited for Negan to be Negan, I think he’s going to be battling a bunch of things within himself this season.”

Negan will also get some screen time with Daryl (Norman Reedus), and according to Morgan, “Negan always loved Daryl.”

“I think there’s something about Daryl, even when I had him locked up, that he respected him and really wanted to break him. And when he couldn’t, he only respected him more,” Morgan said of Daryl’s time as a prisoner of the Sanctuary in Season 7.

“And kind of the reversal of fortunes we’ve had since then, Daryl’s on the other side of it. These men have a very parallel path, Daryl and Negan, it’s a very kind of parallel life that they’ve led. They’re both kind of outsiders in this community, and it’s kind of fascinating digging into that a little bit. I hope we explore it more.”

Reedus earlier teased Daryl and Negan’s dynamic could evolve into an unlikely partnership in the fight against Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.

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“I think Jeffrey is right, I think Daryl and Negan kind of have a similarity somewhere in there,” Reedus said.

“We have a whole big, badass woman and a bunch of dudes with dead faces on them, and there’s a whole bunch of them. We might need Negan.”