The Walking Dead star Jeffrey Dean Morgan misses Negan's old archenemy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), but the star says Negan could face a new foe should he come up against Whisperer cult leader Alpha (Samantha Morton). Negan already partnered with Aaron (Ross Marquand) when Alexandria came under attack from walkers, and there's a chance Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are forced to unleash Negan against the Whisperers: the conflict with the skin-wearers is growing increasingly dangerous, and Negan fears he could suffer the community's wrath as paranoia and tensions continue to grow. Joining the coming fight against Alpha could be Negan's sole option if he hopes to be counted as an Alexandrian.
"I miss Rick. We all do. But as far as I think opponents go, Alpha's just creepy," Morgan said at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, where he appeared alongside Judith Grimes star Cailey Fleming. "She's obviously got some screws loose. You thought Negan was a pain in the butt, this one is a big, special surprise of crazy."
He continued, "But as far as opponents go, I like how Rick and Negan played off of each other, the kind of cat-and-mouse and chess game of it all, I really liked. With Alpha, we'll see how this season unfolds. I know stuff that you don't. But it's gonna be fun, I'll say that."
After serving an almost eight-year prison sentence, Negan is sometimes let out of his cell to perform supervised chores. Asked if Negan might have those same freedoms under Rick, Morgan believes Negan "might have had a little bit of freedom sooner."
"Rick was a big proponent of leading by example, and what he wanted to do was keep Negan alive. I think the relationship Negan had with Rick, and vice versa, he would have known it wasn't an act," Morgan said. "I know a lot of people are like, 'Maybe it was BS when he said he didn't want to be alive anymore.' It wasn't, he was genuinely in a very dark place. They had a weird relationship, and I would have liked to have seen what would have happened. But I think Rick would have had him out picking tomatoes a little bit earlier."
In creator Robert Kirkman's comic books, Negan has a major role to play in the conflict with Alpha. While it remains to be seen if the show takes that some route, Ryan Hurst, who plays Whisperer Beta, earlier confirmed he'll appear opposite Morgan this season.
"Beta and Negan, they couldn't be more diametrically opposite than anything. It's this stone-faced immovable person and then you have his mouthpiece who just will not shut up," Hurst told Insider. "The first episode that you see Beta and Negan together is one of the funniest episodes of Walking Dead that you've ever seen. It's still very bloody, still very Walking Dead, but there's more levity in that episode than in any that I've ever seen of the show."