The Walking Dead Showrunner Teases Negan's New Role in Season 10

After killing off two of the most beloved characters in the history of The Walking Dead, Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan was sentenced to a life in prison by Rick Grimes. Rather than killing Negan, Rick opted to issue him jail time, proving that he was wrong about the way the world can work. As it turns out, Rick may have been totally right, as Negan is starting to act as a reformed man, saving the lives of Judith and Dog in the Season 9 finale. Despite his past, his recent goodwill is finally going to pay off and Negan is going to be a free man in Season 10.

Just like in Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comics, Negan is making his move out of prison and rejoining the land of the living. This gives the show more opportunities to utilize the fan-favorite character, and showrunner Angela Kang has now confirmed that his arc will be fun once again, compared to his dreary jail cell last year.

"This has been part of the plan for his character that started with last season," Kang told TVLine. "So for fans who were kind of itching for more of him, there will be a lot of Negan fun this year."

Of course, that doesn't mean Negan won't get under the skin of just about everyone living in the communities. Kang added, "Negan is still Negan. He can't help but push people's buttons."

In Season 10, Negan will have to be more careful about who he gets into trouble with, on a much shorter leash than he's ever been on before. “I think in the comics, even if he called Rick the King S— Motherf—er, he’s used to being that guy himself,” said Kang. “So to be in jail for years was a big ego blow. He wants to be important. He wants to be valued. So that can take many different forms.”

Some fans may not be happy about Negan being welcome amongst the heroes, especially considering everything he's done over the years. But Kang has argued that this is what makes the character so compelling. He's hard to really hate.

“But that’s the genius of Robert Kirkman [who wrote the source material]. He created this villain who is so much fun, it’s like, ‘Oh my God, am I supposed to like him? This is very confusing.’ That’s where the character lives," Kang explained. “Part of the joy for me in writing Negan is figuring out, ‘What is he up to? Is it OK that I like him right now when he’s saying this stuff that’s really f—ed up?’ That’s a lot of what we’re doing with the character this year, and it’s really fun.”

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The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, October 6th on AMC.