The Walking Dead Season Nine stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays currently incarcerated former Savior leader Negan, and Ryan Hurst, who plays towering Whisperer lieutenant Beta, could be poised for a showdown as the zombie drama marches towards its tenth season.
"I mean, Negan's like a charismatic cockroach, you can never get rid of that guy," Hurst told Dr. Hollywood at PaleyFest. "He's always gonna cause trouble. He'll be around for a while."
Though Beta has emerged as an adversary for Daryl (Norman Reedus), who has taken point in the conflict against Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers, it's Negan who violently clashes with Beta in creator Robert Kirkman's comic books.
While it remains to be seen if The Walking Dead will answer cries for the Negan and Beta showdown from the books, Hurst couldn't be chummier with his new castmates.
"I love Jeffrey. Him and I have been friends for 20 years," Hurst added. "Him and I and Norman, we ride motorcycles all the time. Jeffrey and I — one of my very, very first jobs, and one of his first jobs [JAG], we did together 20 years ago."
In the books, a released Negan integrates for a time amongst the savage, skin-wearing Whisperers, whose primitive way of life repulses even the bat-swinging former villain. Beta's rivalry with the chest-pumping Negan — who not-so-affectionately nicknames the hulking Whisperer "Frowny McTwoknives" after his weapons of choice, dual blades — grows deeper when Negan murders Alpha, eventually resulting in a blockbuster brawl between the two that shatters Negan's beloved baseball bat Lucille.
The storyline is one Morgan hopes to see realized, admitting he would be "very disappointed" if Negan never confronted the Whisperers — a path that helps Negan win his redemption in the eyes of the Alexandrians.
"I love all the stuff with Beta and, as you know, we've added a couple amazing characters to this cast. I hope to god that Negan makes it to those scenes and that we decide that that's not going to be a part of the comic we don't do, y'know? There's been that. I've looked forward to some storylines and then they haven't come to pass," Morgan previously told Screen Rant.
"I hope that those happen because as a fan of the comic I think they were very important moments. And as a fan of this character, I think they're very important for the Negan storyline. If Negan's storyline is just what we've seen so far, I'd be very disappointed because I think there's so much more to this character."
Hurst and showrunner Angela Kang have since teased much more Beta to come in The Walking Dead Season Ten, due out in October.
The Walking Dead premieres its snow-covered Season Nine closer Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.
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