The Walking Dead will unleash the Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) for the first time in Season 10 when episode 10x03, “Ghosts,” partners him with a grudge-holding Aaron (Ross Marquand) for a special mission. When Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) directs a constant stream of walkers towards an exhausted Alexandria, Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) is tasked with guarding the gate from a northern wave of the undead while Aaron takes troops on a mission to break up the southern wave before it hits the wall. Because there’s a shortage of capable fighters, Gabriel pairs up Negan and Aaron under orders to play nice.
“I think that, moving forward, our group is in big trouble with the Whisperers, much more trouble than they were in with Negan and the Saviors. And if I think if someone can step forward and help, it’s Negan,” Morgan said on TWD’s Season 10 Preview Special. “Will our group be open to that? I mean, honestly, I don’t know what’s in [showrunner Angela Kang] or [chief content officer Scott] Gimple’s mind and what they have in store. But I would love to see him get a chance to work with our group. Just give him the chance.”
Negan’s chance is here. But will Aaron be able to bury the hatchet? He hasn’t gotten over the group’s first encounter with Negan nearly eight years earlier, where Aaron was one of 11 potential victims up for death as decided by a twisted game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
That night ended with Negan using barbwire-wrapped baseball bat to murder Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and then Glenn (Steven Yeun). Aaron later lost boyfriend Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) in the subsequent war against Negan’s Saviors, and that loss — plus the deaths of Jesus (Tom Payne), Enid (Katelyn Nacon) and other allies at the hands of the Whisperers — has Aaron “kind of ditching the diplomacy that he’s known for the first five seasons in the show.”
“I think after losing Eric, and Jesus, and Enid, and Tara to the Whisperers in just this horrific way, I think he’s letting diplomacy go now because he realizes with Negan and the Saviors, there was a way you could reason with these people to some degree. As long as you gave them half your things, they’d leave you alone. But with the Whisperers, there’s no diplomacy,” Marquand previously told ET Live. “You have to meet their violence with violence, unfortunately. I think he’s ready to avenge his friends. And he’s happy to, much like Gabriel and Eugene as well, fight for their communities, because they have to. The other choice is surrender, and that’s gonna mean their own death, and then turning into the undead and the horde that Alpha owns.”