The results of a recent poll show a majority of Walking Dead fans are rooting for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The reformed ex-Savior leader, who has spent eight years in prison, has just fled Alexandria following his accidental slaying of Margo (Jerri Tubbs). A blood-thirsty Margo died when Negan pulled her away from former Whisperer Lydia (Cassady McClincy), the victim of a brutal assault from Margo and accomplices Alfred (David Shae) and Gage (Jackson Pace). The Alexandria council then cast a vote to determine Negan’s fate, leaving Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) as the tiebreaker. That voting process was interrupted by Gabriel’s discovery of an empty cell, but TWD fans have voted in Negan’s favor.
The official Walking Dead Twitter account polled viewers, asking, “Have we forgiven Negan to the point where we're actively rooting for him?” With 11,962 votes cast, 65% voted “yes,” 20% voted “maybe,” and 15% voted “no.”
Have we forgiven Negan to the point where we're actively rooting for him? #TheWalkingDead— The Walking Dead (@TheWalkingDead) October 28, 2019
Despite recent shows of heroism displayed by Negan — he put himself at risk to rescue Judith (Cailey Fleming) and Dog in the Season 9 finale before saving Aaron (Ross Marquand) and Lydia so far in Season 10 — showrunner Angela Kang insists a mostly reformed Negan hasn’t lost his Negan-ness.
“I always say Negan is always thinking. Negan always has an edge. There’s an element of him that’s a little unpredictable,” she previously told EW. “He knows what he needs to do to get what he needs in the moment. He’s very smart, he’s very wily, he’s very strong. So, we’re going to see a full range of stuff from Negan this year that hopefully will be as fun for the fans as it’s been for the writers to write it for Jeffrey to play.”
Morgan admittedly still gets hate for portraying the former bat-swinging bad guy responsible for the murders of fan-favorites Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun), but the star credits Negan’s uncle-like bond with Judith as a key factor in his rehabilitation in the eyes of audiences.
“We know the pre-apocalypse life he had, he was a teacher, he worked with kids. I think he has a certain affinity towards kids anyway, and he really likes Judith,” Morgan said on Conan. “And I think seeing that side of him has done a lot for his reputation with fans, maybe they don’t want to kill me as much as they used to.”
Season 10 is also bringing to life a three-dimensional Negan, who Morgan says was “one-dimensional” in his earlier seasons on the show.
“There’s been pieces [of backstory] that he’s been able to kind of throw out — we never have done the episode of how Negan became Negan, unfortunately — and maybe we will, I don’t know,” Morgan said at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta. “But with Judith’s help and a couple other characters, now Negan is more of a three-dimensional character.”
After spending most of Season 9 in a jail cell, Morgan is enjoying a Season 10 that includes Negan-centric episode 10x05, “What It Always Is.”
“I’m thrilled with what the story has done for me this year. I think the buildup and the foundation from the last couple of years is great,” Morgan previously told The Hollywood Reporter. “We have this fleshed-out character now. This year is going to be a lot of fun for the audience, and for me. I'm having a blast. I think it’s the best stuff I’ve gotten to do on the show.”